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Full text of "The Church history of Scotland : from the commencement of the Christian era to the present time"

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^M OF ffijiofy 
'MAR i 1932 









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Meeting of the Privy Council, I. The King resolves to send the 
Marquis of Hamilton to Scotland as his Commissioner, 2. His instruc- 
tions, 3. The Tables forbid the Covenanters to attend him in his Pro- 
gress, 3. The King prepares for extremities, 4. The Commissioner 
comes to Holyrood, 5. He asks the Covenanters to renounce the 
Covenant, 5. He returns to London for new instructions, 6. The Kings 
Concessions, 8. The Competing Covenants, 9. Preparations for the 
Meeting of the Assembly, 10. The Tables issue instructions to Presby- 
teries, 10. Complaint against the Bishops, II. The Assembly meets, 12. 
The Commissioner dissolves it, but it continues its sittings, 15. Deposi- 
tion of Bishops and other Acts of the Assembly, 16-18. The Commis- 
sioner advises the King to prepare for Hostilities, 20. The Covenanters 
engage the services of General Leslie, 22. The Covenanters encamp at 
Dunse Law, 23. Treaty of Peace, 25. The Assembly meets, 26. The 
Large Declaration is condemned, 27. Death of Archbishop Spottiswood, 
29. The Covenanting Army enters England, 32. Terms of Peace, 33. 
Charles I. visits Scotland, 36. He makes great Concessions, 37. The 
Outbreak of the Civil War in England, 38. Desire to extend Presbytery 
to England, 38. Sympathy with the Puritans, 40. Meeting of Assembly, 
and Arrival of an English Deputation, 43. The Solemn League and 
Covenant, 44. The Covenanting Army marches into England, 45. 


Narrow Notions of the Covenanting Period, 45. Dr John Forbes, 47. 
Calvinism of the Scottish Church, 48. The Westminster Assembly of 
Divines, 49. The Scotch Commissioners, 50. The Directory for the 
Public Worship of God, 52. Montrose's Campaigns, 53. His Defeat at 
Philiphaugh, 55. Progress of the Civil War in England, 56. The Presby- 
terians, Independents, and Erastians, 57. The King seeks Shelter in the 
Scotch Lines, 58. The Scotch deliver up the King, 59. The Confession 
of Faith, Catechisms, and Rouse's Psalms, 60, 61. The " Engagement," 
62. Defeat of the Engagers, and the " Whiggamores' Raid," 63,64. 
Execution of King Charles I., 64. Defeat and Death of Montrose, 65. 
Charles II. takes the Covenant and comes to Scotland, 66. The Battle of 
Dunbar, 69. The Remonstrants, 70. Repeal of the Act of Classes, 72. 
Resolutioners and Protesters, 73. The Battle of Worcester, 73. The 
General Assembly dissolved by Cromwell, 74. Behaviour of the Puritans 
in Scotland, 74. Religious Feuds, 75. The Religion of the Covenanting 
Time, 76, 77. General Monk marches upon London, j8. 



James Sharp is sent to London, 78. The Restoration, 79. The King's 
Letter to the Presbytery of Edinburgh, 80. The Earl of Middleton and 
the Rescissory Act, 81. Execution of the Marquis of Argyll, 83. Execution 
of James Guthrie, 84. The King resolves to set up Episcopacy, 86. 
Sharp, Fairfowl, Hamilton, and Leighton get English Consecration, 88. 
The Parliament restores Episcopacy, and invites the Bishops to take their 
seats, 91. Acts anent Benefices held without Presentations, 92. Nearly 
three hundred Ministers leave their Parishes, 94. Conventicles, and Act 
against them, 95. Execution of Johnston of Warriston, 96. Sir James 
Turner sent to the West with Military to coerce the People, 97. Court 
of High Commission set up and shortly put down, 98. Insurrection of the 
Peasantry in Galloway, 99. Their Defeat by Dalziel at Rullion Green, 
101. Torture and Death of Neilson, M 'Kail, and others, 102. Attempt 
to Assassinate Archbishop Sharp, 103. An Indulgence extended to some 
Presbyterian Ministers, 104. The Assertory Act, 105. Leighton at- 
tempts a Union of the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, but fails, 106. 
Conventicle at Beith Hill, 107. Death to preach in the fields, 109. A 
Second Indulgence, no. Character of Lauderdale, in. Letters of In- 
tercommuning, 112. Mitchell tried for the attempted Assassination of 
Sharp, 113. The Highland Host, 115. Murder of Sharp, 116. 


The Rutherglen Declaration, 117. The Battle of Drumclog, 118. The 
Battle of Bothwell Bridge, 120. The Society People, 122. The Queens- 
ferry and Sanquhar Declarations, 122. Skirmish at Airsmoss, and Death 
of Cameron, 123. Donald Cargill excommunicates the King, 124. The 
Duke of York in Scotland, 125. The Test Act, 125. Trial and Flight 
of Argyll, 127. Claverhouse and Sir George M'Kenzie, 128-9. The 
Rye- House Plot, 130. Torture of Spence and Carstares, 131. Execu- 
tion of Jerviswood, 132. The Apologetic Declaration, 133. Mili- 
tary Executions, 134. Death of Lauderdale, Leighton, and Charles 
II., 134-5. Accession of James VII., 135. Brown of Priesthill and 
Wigton Martyrs, 136. Acts against Conventicles, 137. The Earl of 
Argyll's Expedition, 137. Dunnottar Castle, 138. James VII. abro- 
gates the Penal Laws, 140. State of the Church between 1660 and 1688, 


William of Orange lands at Torbay, 151. Riots in Edinburgh, 151. 
Rabbling of the Curates, 152. Bishop Rose despatched to London, 154. 
Service rendered by Carstares to Presbytery, 156. Ecclesiastical Opinions 
of the Prince, 157. Meeting of the Scottish Convention, 159. Causes of 
Alarm, 160. The Throne is declared vacant, 161. The Claim of Right, 
161. Disputes as to the Comparative Numbers of Presbyterians and 
Episcopalians, 162. The Kin;; takes the Coronation Oath with an Ex- 
planation, 163. The Cameronians renew the Covenant, 164. The Came- 
ronian Regiment IS raised, 165. Prayers for the New Sovereigns, 167. 


The Parliament meets, 1 68. Contentions of Parties, 169. Delays and 
Difficulties in regard to the Settlement of Ecclesiastical Affairs, 170. 
Episcopacy declared to be a Grievance, 171. Battle of Killiecrankie, 172. 
The Parliament is adjourned, 172. The Parliament again meets, and the 
Church is Established by Law, 175. Patronage is Abolished, 175. The 
General Assembly meets, 177. The Cameronian Ministers are received 
into the Church, 177. Dissatisfaction of the Cameronian People, 178. 
The Assembly appoints two Commissions to purge out Insufficient Minis- 
ters, 181. Severity of the Commissions, 182. The Universities are 
purged, 183. The Episcopalians lay their Complaints before the King, 
184. The King scolds the Assembly, 185. It shows a reluctance to 
comply with the King's w r ishes, and receive the Episcopal Curates, 185. 
The Royal Commissioner dissolves the Assembly without naming a day 
for another, 187. The Assembly asserts its Right to Meet, 187. The 
Massacre of Glencoe, 187. Disputes about the Oath of Assurance, 189. 
Act for Settling the Peace and Quiet of the Church, 190. Complaints of 
the Episcopalians, 191. The King resolves to press the Oath of Assur- 
ance, 192. It is dispensed with through the Intercession of Carstares, 193. 
The Assembly, in gratitude, received Episcopal Ministers, 193. 


No Chronicler of the Ecclesiastical Revolution, 194. Divided State of 
the Church, 195. Number of Episcopalian Ministers retained, 196. 
Efforts of the Assembly to supply Vacancies, 197. Execution of Thomas 
Aikenhead, 198. The Parochial-School System established, 198. The 
Barrier Act, 199. Proposal to remove the University of St Andrews to 
Perth, 199. The Rabbling Act, 200. Presbyterian Vexations, 201. The 
Darien Expedition, 203. Bourignianism, 205. Death and Character of 
William III., 207. The Episcopalians petition Queen Anne, 208. The 
General Assembly's Alarm, 209. Unreformed Districts, 209. Commis- 
sioners appointed to treat of a Union with England, 213. Unpopularity 
of the measure, 214. Union of the Kingdoms, 215. 


Form of Process, 217. An Invasion threatened,. 217. Act of Assembly 
concerning People's Behaviour in time of Divine Worship, 218. Act of 
Assembly concerning Schoolmasters who could sing the Psalms, 219. Act of 
Assembly anent Penny Weddings, 219. Act of Assembly concerning the 
Better Attendance of Members on the General Assembly, 220. Case of 
Greenshields and the English Liturgy, 222. Act against Innovations in 
Worship, 224. Polemical Literature, 226. The Northern Episcopalians 
resist the Intrusion of Presbyterian Ministers, 227. Violence of M'Millan 
and the M'Millanites, 228. The Toleration Act, 229. History of Patron- 
age, 232. Act restoring Patronage, 236. Alarm of the Church, 237. 
Restoration of the Christmas Recess, 238. Proposal to Endow the Epis- 
copalians, 238. Troubles created by the Abjuration Oath, 239. A Schism 
threatened, 241. Death of Queen Anne, and Accession of George I., 242. 
Death and Character of Principal Carstares, 243. The Rebellion of 1715, 
244. Latitudinarianism, 245. Case of Professor Simson — Arminianism, 
246. The Auchterarder Creed, 248. The Marrow of Modern Divinity, 
249. The Marrow Controversy, 250. 



Boston and the Marrow, 256. Disputes about the Commission, 256. 
Agrarian Outrage, 259. The Episcopal Usages, 260. Project of a Union 
with the Eastern Church, 261. Schism between the College Bishops and 
the Usagers, 263. Writings of Dr Samuel Clarke, 265. Professor 
Simson infected with Arianism, 265., His Trial, 266. His Sentence, 273. 
Lord Grange, 275. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 276. Life and 
Works of Robert Wodrow, 276. Operation of Patronage, 278. Licen- 
tiates degraded for accepting a Presentation, 279. The Call, 280. Rid- 
ing Committees, 283. Act anent Calls, 284. Ebenezer Erskine, 285. His 
Synodical Sermon, 287. His Sentence and Appeal to the Assembly, 288. 
Case of Kinross, 289. Ebenezer Erskine is rebuked by the Assembly, and 
Protests, 291. The four Seceders are brought before the Commission, and 
declared no longer Ministers of the Church, 293. The Secession, 293. 
The Church repents of its severity, 295. Erskine refuses to return, 297. 
The Seceders publish their Judicial Testimony, 299. Causes of the 
Secession, 300. Cant, 301. Case of Professor Campbell, 302. The 
Porteous Mob, 303. The Members of the Associate Presbytery are 
summoned before the Assembly, and decline its authority, 307. The 
Glassites, 309. The Seceders are deposed, 311. 


George Whitefield, 311. Ralph Erskine, 312. Whitefield's Rupture 
with the Seceders, 313. The Cambuslang Revival, 315. Origin of the 
Ministers' Widows' Fund, 319. Dr Alexander Webster, 319. Dr Robert 
Wallace, 320. Smuggled Tea and Brandy, 321. Case of Dr Leechman, 
322. The Rebellion of 1745, 325. Severe Laws against the Episcopa- 
lians, 328. The Burghers and Antiburghers, 329. The Augmentation 
Scheme, 331. Patronage still a bone of Contention, 334. Case of Lan- 
ark, 337. The Moderate and Popular Parties, 338. Refusal of Presby- 
teries to induct obnoxious Presentees, 339. First Appearance of William 
Robertson in the Assembly, 341. Case of Inverkeithing, 342. Deposi- 
tion of Thomas Gillespie, 344. The Scepticism of David Hume, 348. 
The Speculations of Henry Home, Lord Karnes, 349. Hume is threatened 
with Excommunication, 351. John Home, and the Tragedy of 
" Douglas," 352. The Patrons of the Play are censured, 355, Tiie 
Moderate Party gains ground, 357. Cases of Nigg, Jedburgh, and Kil- 
conquhar, 357-8. Formation of the Presbytery of Relief, 359. 


Hume's "Essay on Miracles," 359. Dr Campbell's Answer to it, 360. 
Dr Reid's " Inquiry into the Human Mind," 364. Dr Beattie's " Essay 
on Truth," 365, The Leaders of the Popular and Moderate Parties, 367. 
Change in Church Politics, 368. Increase of Dissent, 369. Overture on 
the Schism, 370. The Judicial Procedure of the Church, 373. Senti- 
ments of the Presbytery of Relief — Cases of Simson and Bain, 375. 


Violent Settlements at Eaglesham, Shotts, and St Xinian's, 377. Patron- 
age fully established, 380. Controversy about Creeds, 381. Penal Laws. 
385. Popish Panic, 387. Pluralities, 389. Retirement of Principal 
Robertson, 390. His Death and Character, 391. Patronage Struggles 
renewed, 392. Debate upon the Call, 392. Dr Hill and Dr Macknight, 
393. Pamphlet by Dr Hardy, 394. Debate upon Patronage, 395. The 
Buchanites, 396. Trial of Dr M'Gill for Heresy, 399. Chapels'of Ease, 
401. Foreign Missions, 404. Robert and James Haldane, 406. Row- 
land Hill comes to Scotland, 407. Act respecting unqualified Ministers 
and Preachers, 408. Lay Preaching and Ministerial Communion, 409. 
Rowland Hill's wSecond Tour in Scotland, 410. 


Phases of Presbytery, 411. The Moderate and Popular Ministers, 413. 
Increase of Dissent, 414. Position of the Seceders, Cameronians, and 
Episcopalians, 415. The Last of the Stewarts, 417. Ancient Haunts of 
Roman Catholicism, 417. Beginning of Assessments for the Poor, 418. 
State of the Parish Churches, 419. Estimate of Scottish Piety, 420. 
Sacramental Gatherings, 422. Decrease of Superstition, 423. Social 
Manners, 424. Discipline of the Church, 424. Form of Worship, 425. 
The Paraphrases, 427. The Metrical Psalms, 429. Thomas Chalmers. 
429. The Leslie Controversy, 430. Division in the Moderate Camp, 

435. Hill's Lectures, 435. Andrew Thomson and Christian Instructor, 

436. Act for Augmenting Small Stipends, 437. Controversy about 
Pluralities, 438. Case of Principal Macfarlane, 441. Foreign Missions, 
443. The Apocrypha Controversy, 444. Edward Irving, 445. The 
Row Heresy, 446. Death of Dr Andrew Thomson, 447. The Voluntary 
Controversy, 448. Arguments p?v and con, 450. Development of idea 
of Spiritual Independence, 452. What should be done? 453. Dr Chal- 
mers moves for a Veto, 455. His Motion Defeated, 456. Relative 
Places of the Presentation and the Call, 457. 


Assembly ol 1834, 458. Debate on Veto— Lord Moncreiff and Dr 
Mearns, 459. The Veto carried, 460. The Chapel Act, 462. Church 
Extension Scheme, 464. The Dissenters oppose it, 465. Deputation 
wait on Lord Melbourne, 466. The Auchterarder Case, 466. Robert 
Young — the Presentee, 467. Action of Declarator in^Court of Session, 467. 
Lethendy, Clark, and Kessen, 468. Decision in Auchterarder Case, 471. 
History of the Idea of Spiritual Independence, 473. Declaration regard- 
ing Spiritual Independence in Assembly 1838, 475. Mr Young summoned 
before the Assembly, 476. The Commission orders the Presbytery of 
Dunkeld to induct Mr Kessen, and they do so, 477. Bicentenary of 1638, 
478. House of Lords give Judgment in Auchterarder Case, 479. Assem- 
bly of 1839, 479. Speeches and Motions of Dr Cook, Dr Chalmers, and 
Dr Muir, 480. Chalmers's Motion carried, 481. Lord Dalhousie leaves 
the Assembly, 482. Sir James Graham's opinion of Dr Chalmers, 483. 
The Veto though Illegal had worked well, 485. The Rebellious Attitude 
of the Church prevented Legislation* 485. 



The Presbytery of Dunkeld Censured and Warned by Court of Session, 
486. Disputed Settlement of Marnoch, 486. Interdict and Judgment of 
Court of Session, and Resolution of Presbytery of Strathbogie, 487. The 
Commission Suspends the Majority of the Presbytery, 489. The Com- 
mission's Riding Committee in Strathbogie, and Interdict, 489. Deputa- 
tion has interview with Lord Melbourne, 490. Sir James Graham's 
alarm, 491. Another Deputation goes to London, 491. Interview with 
Lord Melbourne, 492. With Lord John Russel, 492. Perthshire Election 
and Mr Dunlop, 493. Dr Chalmers's Indignation, 493. Lord Aberdeen's 
Bill, 494. Repudiated by the Assembly of 1840, 495. The Assembly 
continues the Suspension of the Strathbogie ministers, 496. Obedience a 
duty, 497. Ordination at Marnoch, 498. Duke of Argyll's Bill, 501. 
Strathbogie Ministers Tried and Deposed, 503. Wright of Borthwick 
Deposed, 506. Reel of Bogie, 508. Culsalmond Case, 509. Sir George 
Sinclair's Clause, 509. The Forty Thieves, 513. Campbell of Monzie's 
Bill, 513. The Claim of Rights, 515. Depositions, 518. Second 
Auchterarder Case, 520. The Convocation, 521. The Stewarton Case, 
523. Fox Maule's Motion, 525. Debate in House of Lords, 527. Assem- 
bly of 1843, 529. Hopes and Fears, 529. Dr Welsh, the Moderator's 
Statement, 530. The Secession, 531. 


The Queen's Letter, 532. The Assembly undoes the Legislation of the 
Last Nine Years, 533. Free Church Assembly, 533. Deed of Demission, 
533. Strength of the Secession, 534. Hamilton's "Be not Martyrs by 
Mistake," 536. Lord Aberdeen's Bill passed, 537. Bill for Erecting 
quoad sacra parishes passed, 538. The Site Question, 538. The Poor 
Law Act, 539. Dr James Robertson and Endowment, 539. United 
Presbyterian Church formed, 540. Dr Robert Lee and his Liturgy, 540. 
Dr Lee's Death, 543. The MacMillan Case, 544. Dr Norman M'Leod, 

545. The proposed Union of the Free and United Presbyterian Churches, 

546. The Education Act, 546. Patronage Abolished, 547. The 
Question of Creed Subscription, 548. The Conclusion, 548, 549. 




It was high time that the Privy Council should meet ; 
and it did meet. On the very day that the Covenant was 
paraded about the streets of Edinburgh for signatures, the 
Council was sitting at Stirling, deliberating as to what should 
be done. It was the 3d of March before they came to a 
decision ; but they then despatched Sir John Hamilton, the 
Justice-Clerk, to London, to declare to the king that the whole 
country was in a state of combustion ; that the Book of Canons, 
the Liturgy, and the High Commission were the cause ; and 
that his Majesty ought, " as an act of his singular justice," to 
take trial of his subjects' grievances. Two days afterwards, 
the Earls of Traquair and Roxburgh wrote to their " most 
sacred sovereign," declaring that the dread of religious inno- 
vation was so strong in every corner of the kingdom, that 
nothing was to be seen but a general conflagration — men 
strengthening themselves by subscribing bonds, and no power 
to repress their fury ; and suggesting that, as religion was the 
pretext, it would be well for his Majesty to consider if it would 
not be wise to free his subjects from their fears, by which the 
sincere would be satisfied ; and his Majesty would then be 
able to punish the insolence of those who continued to kick 
against authority. 1 

The Lord Justice-Clerk returned in April, with instructions 
to the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, and Lord Lorn to 
repair to court. Several of the bishops were already there ; 
many of the Scotch nobility were always there ; so that the king 
had now an opportunity of hearing all parties, and learning 
accurately the state of matters. Balfour affirms that the 
1 Burnet's Memoirs of the Duke of Hamilton, pp. 36, 37. 


bishops, especially Maxwell of Ross, were blowing the bellows, 
and crying fire and sword ; 1 but more peaceful counsels pre- 
vailed ; and Charles determined to send down the Marquis of 
Hamilton to Scotland as His High Commissioner, with power 
to settle the disorders. The nobleman chosen for this im- 
portant mission was in many ways the fittest man that could 
have been fixed upon. He stood at the head of the Scotch 
nobility, and had kept himself aloof from Scotch faction. His 
abilities were good, his politics moderate, and his manners 
bland and conciliatory. He has had the misfortune, how- 
ever, to be abused by both high Episcopalians and high 
Covenanters : the one declared that he betrayed the king, 
the other that he betrayed the country; but this is the 
frequent fate of men who attempt to mediate between angry 

While these things were doing in London, the Covenanters 
in Scotland had made up their mind that the mere discontinu- 
ance of the Book of Canons, and Liturgy, and the abolition of 
the High Commission, would not satisfy them ; that they must 
have a General Assembly and a parliament to give the stamp 
of legal authority to their worship and discipline. They were 
determined to place no dependence upon the absolute will of 
a monarch who had shown that all his predilections were 
against them. 2 Their appeal was from the king to the law. 
Some of them went farther, and already began to reduce to 
practice their own favourite notions of ecclesiastical govern- 
ment. Some presbyteries relieved their perpetual moderators 
of their duties ; some removed uncovenanted clergymen from 
their parishes ; some ordained ministers by the laying on of 
the hands of the presbytery apart from the bishop. The lower 
orders of the people went farther, and in several cases mobbed 
and maltreated unhappy divines who still clung to Episcopacy 
and refused to take the Covenant. In all these rabbles, 
singular enough, the women were conspicuous ; in some cases 
even ladies of rank were unable to restrain their zeal, which 
furnishes Clarendon with the taunt, "that the Jews, as of old, 
stirred up the devout and honourable women." 3 

From the instructions given by the king to his Commis- 

1 Annals, vol. ii. p. 263. 

- Demands of the Covenanters given to Traquair on repairing to court. 
Balfour, vol. ii, p. 252. Peterkin, p. 62. 

:i History of the Rebellion, vol. i. p. 89. Baillie'd Letters and Journals, 
1 ol. i. p. 21, I>an. Ed. 


sioner, it is evident he was not disposed to grant all that the 
Covenanters were determined to demand. He was to offer a 
pardon to all who should renounce the Covenant within a 
certain time ; he was to continue the Court of High Commis- 
sion, albeit it was based on no act of parliament, but to pro- 
mise that it should be regulated and ratified by the first 
parliament that should meet ; he was to refuse all petitions 
against the Five Articles of Perth, but he was not to urge their 
observance; he was to suspend the acts of Council enjoining 
the use of the Service-Book \ if any made protestation against 
the royal proclamations, he was to treat them as rebels ; and 
if, by these means, the refractory were not reduced to obedi- 
ence, he was to resort to hostile measures. 1 From this it is 
evident that there was still a great gulph between the king and 
his subjects, which must be got over before peace could be 
made. The king was prepared merely to yield to the clamours 
of the people, and put a temporary arrest upon measures which 
were universally obnoxious. The people were resolved not to 
be dependent upon the sovereign's will at all, but to have every- 
thing they asked secured to them by law — by acts of parlia- 
ment and acts of Assembly. They were more indignant at 
the way in which the Liturgy had been forced upon them than 
at the Liturgy itself, and for this there was only one remedy — a 
meeting of the Estates. They wished to see the evil destroyed 
— not delayed. 

The Marquis of Hamilton had written from Berwick to his 
friends and retainers to meet him on the way to give splendour 
to his progress through the country ; but the Tables at Edin- 
burgh had determined that their adherents should not keep 
company with those who were not joined in Covenant with 
them, and so none came to swell the train of the Commis- 
sioner. 2 The Covenant was now found to be stronger than 
feudal ties. Religion, in leaguing the country together, had 
aimed a deadly blow at vassalage. Even friendship was weaker 
than fanaticism. Hamilton is said to have been so annoyed 
that he had thoughts of turning his horse's head to the south, 
and the explanations of Rothes, Loudon, and Lindsay did not 
altogether remove his wrath. Digesting the affront as he best 
could, he took up his residence at Dalkeith in the beginning 
of June, and immediately held a meeting of the Privy Council, 
in which his commission was produced and read ; but it was 

1 Burnet's Memoirs of Hamilton, pp. 46-50. 

2 The King's Large Declaration, pp. 81, 82. Baillie, vol. i. p. 79. 


already abundantly plain to him that, unless his instruc- 
tions were enlarged, no adjustment of differences was possible. 
He was told by Lord Lindsay that the people would never 
relinquish the Covenant ; that they wished the whole Episco- 
pate greatly modified, if not destroyed ; and that if a parliament 
and General Assembly were not called by the royal authority, 
the people would take it in hand themselves. These 
threatening speeches were accompanied with equally threaten- 
ing deeds. A ship, with a small quantity of ammunition 
destined for Edinburgh Castle, had arrived in Leith roads. 
The Covenanters took alarm, and were preparing to seize it 
when the Earl of Traquair anticipated them, and had the cargo 
conveyed to Dalkeith. 1 But this was enough to make the 
citizens of Edinburgh surround the castle with a guard lest it 
should be supplied with ammunition, of which it was known to 
be in want. .While rebellion was thus lifting up its head in the 
country, there was a want of unanimity in the councils of the 
king. The leanings of Argyll were already becoming plain ; 
the Lord Advocate Hope, a thorough Covenanter at heart, was 
throwing every legal obstacle which he could in the way of 
the Commissioner, and few or none were entirely to be de- 
pended on. 

T On the day after his arrival at Dalkeith. 

June 4. TT .. J . - . . . 

Hamilton wrote to his master that he must pre- 
pare for force if he would save the country. The king replied, 
on the nth of June, that he had not been idle; that his 
preparations were advancing ; that the Covenanters had better 
not be proclaimed traitors till the fleet had set sail for Scot- 
land ; that the Castles of Edinburgh and Stirling should be 
secured ; and the people flattered with hopes, so as to win 
time till he was ready to suppress them, for that he was 
determined to die rather than yield to their impertinent and 
damnable demands. On the 20th of the same month his 
Majesty again wrote that his train of artillery, consisting of 
forty pieces, was in good forwardness, and would be ready in 
six weeks ; that he had taken steps to secure Carlisle and Ber- 
wick ; that he had sent to Holland for arms for 14,000 foot 
and 2000 horse; that his ships were ready; that he had 
consulted with his Chancellor of the Exchequer about the 
means of defraying the expedition, which was estimated at 
^200,000 ; and that he wished the Commissioner's advice as 

1 Burnet's Memoirs of Hamilton, p. 52. Large Declaration. Baillie, 
vol. i. 


to whether he should send 6000 soldiers with the fleet to the 
Frith, now that it appeared the Castle of Edinburgh could not 
be secured. 1 But these secret missives were in the meantime 

The Covenanters petitioned the Commissioner to remove to 
Holyrood House ; but this he refused to do so long as the 
gates and Castle of Edinburgh were guarded by patrols of 
armed men. Upon a pledge being given that no ammunition 
would be conveyed into the castle, the guards were removed, and 
Hamilton prepared to make his entrance into the capital, and 
the Covenanters to give him a reception, which would demon- 
strate their strength, while it did honour to his rank. On the 
8th of June he made his progress toward Holyrood, along the 
sands of Musselburgh and Leith. " In his entry at Leith," says 
Baillie, in his quaint, graphic way, " as much honour was done 
to him as ever to a king in our country. Huge multitudes as 
ever was gathered on that field set themselves in his way ; 
nobles, gentry of all shires, women a world, the town of Edin- 
burgh all at the Watergate ; but we (the ministers) were most 
conspicuous in our black cloaks, about five hundred on a brae- 
side in the Links, alone for his sight. We had appointed Mr 
William Livingstone, the strongest in voice, and austerest in 
countenance of us all, to make him a short welcome." 2 The 
Commissioner declined the stentorian display of the austere 
Mr Livingstone, but he is said to have been greatly affected 
by the spectacle which he had witnessed. 

Montrose, Rothes, and Loudon, with some ministers, were 
appointed to treat with the Commissioner, and in a confer- 
ence with them, the Commissioner declared that the king 
was ready to redress their grievances, and summon an 
Assembly and parliament, but that, as a preliminary to this, 
they must renounce the Covenant as an illegal confederacy. 
They replied they would rather renounce their baptism than 
their Covenant. 3 When Saturday came, they showed what 
manner of spirit they were of, by making it known that they 
were resolved not to suffer the performance of the Anglican 
service even in the royal chapel at Holyrood House ; which 
caused his Grace to go to Dalkeith to be out of the way. 4 
The agitation, instead of subsiding, gradually increased. The 
citizens of Edinburgh renewed their guards ; and every pulpit 

1 These letters are preserved by Burnet, pp. 55-59, and copied by Peter- 
kin, pp. 68, 69. - Baillie, vol. i. p. 83. 
3 Large Declaration, p. 87. 4 Ibid., p. 88. 


throughout the country was like the crater of an active volcano, 
belching forth fire and smoke. 

Hamilton now resolved to return to London for fresh 
instructions, but before doing so, he determined to publish 
the king's Declaration of Grace and Favour, as it was called. 
Preparatory to doing so, he recalled the Courts of Justice to 
Edinburgh — an act which was gratefully acknowledged by the 
council, the judges, and many of the citizens, but which the 
stern Covenanters met merely by requesting that Sir Robert 
Spottiswood, the Lord President, and Sir John Hay, the 
Clerk-Register, both enemies to the Covenant, should be 
removed from their places. 1 On the 4th of July, the king's 
Declaration was proclaimed at the market-cross. It set forth 
his Majesty's abhorrence of Popery, his resolution neither 
then nor afterwards to press the canons and liturgy but in a 
fair and legal way, and his intention to rectify the High Com- 
mission with advice of his Council, and to have a Parliament 
and Assembly summoned at his best convenience. 2 This was 
nearly all that the Covenanters had at first required, but their 
views were widening ; and, besides, they had no great con- 
fidence in the word of the king — nor had they reason. No 
sooner were the trumpets blown by the heralds, than the 
Covenanters crowded to the spot — a platform was extempo- 
rised upon the instant — the Earl of Cassillis, Johnstone of 
Warriston, and some others, mounted upon it, holding a pro- 
test in their hand, and whenever the proclamation was ended, 
they began to read. 3 

On the 6th of July, the Lord High Commissioner began 
his journey to court, from which he did not return to Scot- 
land till the 8th of August. His instructions upon this occa- 
sion show that his Majesty had considerably modified his 
opinions. Hamilton was to take steps for the summoning of 
a General Assembly. No renunciation of the Covenant was 
to be required, but he was to get the Council, and as many 
of the Covenanters as possible, to subscribe the Confession of 
1560. But while he conceded this, he was to labour that 
bishops should have a vote in the Assembly, and, if possible, 
that a bishop should be moderator. He was to protest . 

1 Large Declaration, p. 93. Baillie, vol. i. 

2 Large Declaration, p. 96. 

3 Rothes, in his Relation, informs us how they managed to get up a 
platform so rapidly. They had three or four puncheons lying at the mar- 
ket-cross ready ; these were turned upon their end, some planks thrown 
across them, and upon these the protesters mounted. 


against the abolition of bishops, but might allow them to be 
made amenable to the Assembly \ and if any of them were 
accused of any specific crimes, he was not to stand in the 
way of their being brought to trial. Two conditions only 
did the king impose upon the Assembly — no layman must 
vote in choosing the clerical representatives to it from the 
various presbyteries \ and when met, it must not meddle with 
matters determined by acts of parliament, unless by remon- 
strance and petition. 1 But while the king was making these 
public professions, he was still secretly pressing on his prepara- 
tions for war. 

The subscription of the Confession of 1560 was designed 
as a diversion to withdraw men from the Covenant, but it did 
not succeed. The exclusion of laymen from the election of 
ministers to sit in the Assembly was asked, because it was 
known that the laity were more hostile to Episcopacy than 
the clergy ■ and also because it was known that some jeal 
ousies had already arisen, which might thus be increased. 
The committee appointed by the Tables to consider this con- 
dition, reported that both ministers and elders must have a 
vote in the election of representatives to the Assembly. 
When this resolution was communicated to the clergy at their 
Table, many of them hesitated about its propriety. They had 
no recollection of a time when elders had such a power, and 
therefore they insisted that the resolution should be so 
altered as merely to affirm, that the right of electing repre- 
sentatives should be vested in those in whom, by law or cus- 
tom, it had previously resided. When this was brought 
before the Table of the nobility, barons, and burgesses, they 
were highly indignant at the attempt to exclude them from a 
voice in the Church Courts, and a rupture was like to take 
place \ but by the dexterous management of Henderson, the 
ministers were induced to yield, and the resolution restored 
to its original shape. 2 The second condition was probably 
designed to prevent the Assembly from touching the Articles 
of Perth, or the framework of the Episcopate, as these had 
received a legislative sanction. The Covenanters refused 
to be fettered by any such restrictions — their Assembly must 
be free \ and they again began to speak of calling an 
Assembly themselves without waiting for the royal authority. 

1 Instructions by the King to Hamilton, 27th July 1638. Burnet, p. 
65. Peterkin, p. 76. Large Declaration, p. 123. 

2 Large Declaration. Baillie, vol. i. p. 100. Stevenson, vol. ii. 


Baffled in all his endeavours to win some concessions from 
the faction who now ruled the country, Hamilton proposed 
once more to visit the court, and get authority from the 
king to grant all that was desired. The request was reluc- 
tantly conceded. The king and his Commissioner met at 
Oatlands, where it was agreed that a free Assembly should 
be called ; and to relieve the country of all fear of Popery, 
and also to out-manoeuvre the Covenanters, Hamilton per- 
suaded Charles to subscribe the Confession of 1581, which 
formed the first part of the Covenant, and was sometimes 
supposed to constitute it all. It must have been a bitter 
pill for the king to swallow, for it reprobates as Popish and 
jDestilent many doctrines which he firmly believed. When 
the Commissioner was hastening down to Scotland, he met 
with some of the Scottish bishops who had sought an asylum 
in England, and communicated to them the instructions 
which he bore. They felt that their doom was sealed. On 
the 17th September he was in Edinburgh, three days before 
the time he had promised. The Council was instantly sum- 
moned, and the royal concessions were made known to them. 
They received them with joy ; agreed to subscribe the Con- 
fession as required ; and to pass an act recording their satis- 
faction with the goodness of the king. They farther resolved 
that the king's declaration should be published at the cross, 
and proclamation made that an Assembly should be held at 
Glasgow on the 21st of November, a parliament in the month 
of May of the following year, and requiring all to follow the 
example of the king and his Council by subscribing the con- 
fession, with the bond annexed for the defence of religion 
and law. 1 Many now thought that all differences might be 
composed, and civil war averted ; but the Covenanters had 
acquired such a habit of protesting that they protested 
against this declaration too, though it in reality granted 
them all that they desired. There was the same scene as 
before ; a 'platform was erected — it was crowded with Cove- 
nanters with their hats on their head, and their swords in 
their hand; Montrose was conspicuous amongst them, but no 
representative from the clerical Table appeared. There had 
been a division in the camp — the ministers were satisfied, but 
not the laity. 2 

There were now two Covenants in the field competing for 
popular favour — the King's and the Tables'. Both were in- 

1 Large Declaration, pp. 134, 155. - Ibid., p. 185. 


dustriously hawked about the country, and in some cases 
means more potent than persuasion were employed to procure 
subscriptions. There were rumours afloat of men subscribing 
under the influence of loaded pistols and drawn daggers. 
Some of the Covenanting lords wrote to the Commissioner 
that they had heard many grievous complaints of men being 
forced to give their adherence to the king's confession " against 
their consciences, and to the great trouble of their souls." But 
the Commissioner sharply retorted : " Alas ! my lords, tell me 
now, in good earnest, whether you have heard they have used 
such violence in persuading this Covenant, as hath been used 
by your adherents in enforcing of yours ? Hath the blood of 
God's servants, His holy ministers, been shed, which blood, 1 
am afraid, keepeth the vengeance of God still hanging over 
this land ? Have men been beaten, turned out of their livings 
and maintenance, reviled and excommunicated in the pulpits, 
and a thousand more outrages acted upon them for not sub- 
scribing the Covenant?" 1 As this Covenanting work went 
on, every town and every hamlet was violently agitated ; de- 
lusion and imposture sprung from the ferment, and people 
greedily believed everything that favoured their party. A 
poor girl, subject to insanity, was carried away by the prevail- 
ing frenzy. She oracularly declared that the Covenant was 
ratified in heaven. She recited long passages of Scripture ; re- 
peated long passages from sermons ; spoke of Christ as the 
Covenanting Jesus. Noblemen, ministers, ladies of high rank 
crowded to hear her, and listened reverentially to her ravings, 
as [if they were the oracles of God. 2 This was not all. A 
Jesuit priest was pressed into the service ; he abandoned his 
Church, subscribed the Covenant, made many marvellous re- 
velations, and had sermons preached and published in his 
praise. 3 The king's Covenant was subscribed by all the mem- 
bers of the Privy Council, by all the judges, saving four; by 
great numbers in Angus and Aberdeen, by a good many in 
Glasgow and its neighbourhood — probably by some twenty or 
thirty thousand in all. But it never had the same favour with 

1 Large Declaration, pp. 197-99. 

2 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 83. Large Declaration, pp. 226, 227. 

3 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 83. Baillie, p. 102. He says — "Mr Andrew 
Ramsay made a very sweet discourse on the subject." This very sweet 
discourse was afterwards published, and still remains. It is entitled, "A 
Warning to come out of Babylon." Abernethy's statement was also pub- 
lished, and entitled: "Abjuration of Popery by Thomas Abernethy, 
sometime Jesuit, but now penitent sinner and an unworthy member of the 
true Reformed Church of God in Scotland." 


the people as the Tables' Covenant. If Saul slew his thou- 
sands, David slew his tens of thousands. 

Men now began to look anxiously forward to the Assembly 
upon which so much depended. The king still clung to the 
hope of saving the Episcopate, albeit in a modified form, and 
it was known that many of the clergy had not been able all at 
once to shake off their Episcopal prejudices ; but the nobility, 
the barons, and burgesses, were bent upon plucking it up as a 
plant which God had not planted, and the Tables were already 
busy at work, making provision for the proper constitution of 
the High Court. They had indignantly repudiated the inter- 
ference of the king as an infringement of its freedom ; but now 
they ventured themselves to send down to every presbytery 
minute instructions as to how they should proceed in the choice 
of their representatives. They were instructed to provide 
themselves with a copy of the Act of Assembly 1597, concerning 
the number of commissioners they were entitled to send ; 
they were furnished with a form of commission \ every kirk- 
session was to send an elder to vote in the election of repre- 
sentatives, both lay and clerical ; every minister who was 
erroneous in doctrine or scandalous in life was immediately to 
be put under process, and not chosen as a commissioner, and 
if chosen by the majority, the minority were to protest, and 
bring up the matter before the Assembly ; the moderators of 
presbyteries were not to be commissioners in virtue of their 
office ; and all chapter men and such as read the liturgy were 
to be carefully excluded. 1 

The Covenanters declared that these instructions were 
necessary, as more than thirty years had elapsed since a law- 
ful General Assembly had been held, and many of the presby- 
teries were ignorant as to how they should proceed. The 
court and Episcopal party complained that it was an attempt 
on the part of the Tables to pack the Assembly with creatures 
of their own ; that the form of commission prescribed pre- 
judged the whole question to be tried in the Assembly; that 
lay elders had not sat in presbyteries for forty years, and had 
never taken a part in the election of clerical commissioners, 2 

1 Large Declaration, p. 129. Besides the public instructions sent down 
to the presbyteries, there were others of a more private nature, which are 
now to be seen in the Wodrow MSS., and in the Appendix to Baillie's 
Letters, &c, vol. i. p. 469. Still further, there was a letter specially ad- 
dressed to every presbytery by the Tables. See Appendix to Baillie. 

- Thus in the minutes of the Presbytery of Perth previous to 1638, only 
absentees are mentioned by name, and these always clergymen, and the 


and were to be intruded upon presbyteries now only to swamp 
them; and that by " erroneous in doctrine or scandalous in 
life," was simply meant, refusal to take the Covenant, which 
was to be considered as a sufficient ground for excluding a 
man from the Assembly. These charges were no doubt partly 
true ; but when party-spirit runs high, violent and unjustifiable 
courses are ever resorted to. It is not in man to do otherwise. 
However this may be, the great majority of the presbyteries 
succumbed to the dictation of the Tables ; x but a few refused 
to adopt their commission, or to libel their uncovenanting 
brethren, and made a struggle to exclude elders from voting in 
the election of their clerical commissioners. 

But it had been resolved that the bishops should be brought 
to the bar of the Assembly, and how was this to be done? 
The usual way was to lodge an information with the mode- 
rator and clerk of the last Assembly ; but the Covenanters 
were not disposed to recognise the moderator and clerk of 
the detested Assembly of 1618. They asked the Com- 
missioner in his own name to grant a process against them, 
and cite them to appear; but this his Grace declined to do, 
as contrary to all precedent. They next requested the judges 
to grant such a process ; but they replied that they could not 
grant a process for the appearance of any but those against 
whom an action had been brought, and whose causes were 
within the jurisdiction of their court. 2 They next resolved to 
bring the matter before the Presbytery of Edinburgh, which 
they justly expected would not be so squeamish. A com- 
plaint was therefore drawn out and signed by a long list of 
noblemen, barons, burgesses, and ministers, charging the 
bishops with having violated the conditions upon which they 
received their bishoprics ; with preaching Arminian and Popish 
doctrines ; with having exercised the powers of diocesan pre- 
lates ; with having given their aid to bring in the Court of 

sederunt runs in the name of " the moderator and brethren," from which 
we may infer that no elders sat. In 1638 no fewer than nineteen elders 
suddenly appear, all of whom are named in the sederunt. Some curious 
information regarding the interference of the Tables with the presbyteries 
will be found in the Appendix to Baillie's Letters and Journals. 

1 " The Tables in Edinburgh wrote to them," says Baillie, "that thirty- 
nine presbyteries already had chosen their commissioners, as they were 
desired ; that the rest were in doing ; that they heard of none who were 
unwilling." (Vol. i. p. 107.) Baillie elsewhere, however, refers to re- 
fractory presbyteries. Some such cases are also mentioned in the Large 
Declaration, and in the Proceedings of the Assembly. 

1 Large Declaration, p. 208. 


High Commission, the Book of Canons, and the Liturgy ; and, 
finally, with being guilty " of excessive drinking, whoring, 
playing at cards and dice, swearing, profane speaking, ex- 
cessive gaming, profaning of the Sabbath, contempt of the 
public ordinances and private family exercises, mocking of the 
power of preaching, prayer, and spiritual conference, and 
sincere professors ; besides, with bribery, simony, selling of 
commissariats' places, lies, perjuries, dishonest dealing in civil 
bargains, abusing of their vassals, and of adultery and incest, 
and many other offences." - 1 A black and fearful catalogue of 
crimes ! The presbytery did not distress itself with any nice 
questions as to its jurisdiction in such a matter, but sustained 
the complaint ; referred it to the approaching General Assem- 
bly ; ordered it to be read in all the pulpits on the ensuing 
Sunday ; and thus prostituted places which ought to be sacred 
to that charity "which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth 
in the truth," for spreading among the people these abominable 
calumnies against men, many of them venerable for their 
piety, learning, and years, and whose only real crime was, that 
they were bishops. The sin was aggravated by being perpe- 
trated on a Communion Sunday, and almost over the symbols 
of our redemption. 2 

The day for the meeting of the Assembly approached. On 
Friday, the 16th of November, the westland gentlemen came 
pouring into Glasgow. Lord Eglinton and other noblemen 
came, attended by their friends and vassals. On the follow- 
ing day, the stream of commissioners and their retainers set 
in from the east. The prices of houses and beds were rising ; 
but it soon began to be seen that the western metropolis had 
already a capacity to lodge Council, Session, Parliament, and 
General Assembly. On the afternoon of Saturday, it was 
known that his Grace the Lord High Commissioner, accom- 
panied by many of the Lords of the Privy Council, was 
approaching the city, and some of the Covenanted noblemen 
went out to meet him, and courteous speeches were exchanged. 
The Covenanters protested they would ask nothing but what 
was right and reasonable, and the Commissioner declared 
that everything that was right and reasonable would be granted. 
The three following days were spent by both parties in pre- 
paring for the encounter. 

1 This document is given in the Large Declaration, pp. 209-19. 

2 Sir Thomas Hope's Diary, recently published by the Bannatyne Club. 
See also Large Declaration. 


It was on Wednesday, the 21st of November, the Assembly 
was to meet. It met in the Cathedral Church. That noble 
pile stood then just as it stands now, and as it had stood for 
centuries before. It rose solemnly from amid the gravestones 
of many generations, pointing back to the time when good 
Bishop Jocelyn laid the foundations of its peerless crypt. 
Beyond the Molendinar Burn, so famous in ancient story, the 
rocky eminence was covered with scraggy firs, which is now 
the thickly-peopled " city of the dead." Commissioner, magis- 
trates, nobles, barons, burgesses, ministers, came crowding 
into St Mungo's Church. None had gowns ; many had 
doublets, swords, and daggers ; and the jostling, thrusting, 
and squeezing was such, that honest Baillie declares that if 
men had behaved in his house so rudely as they did in the 
house of God, he would have turned them down stairs. 1 In 
this respect, at least, this Assembly of our Church must have 
resembled one of those great (Ecumenical Councils of the East, 
still so greatly revered, which settled some of the highest 
mysteries of our faith amid tumult and uproar. 

But though the Assembly may have been somewhat dis- 
orderly at its downsitting, and not very canonical in its 
garments, it comprised all the rank, and wealth, and intelli- 
gence of the country. It consisted of 140 ministers, 2 pro- 
fessors not ministers, and 98 ruling elders from presbyteries 
and burghs. Of these ruling elders, 1 7 were noblemen, 9 were 
knights, 25 were landed proprietors, and 47 were burgesses — 
all men of some consideration. 2 The Earl of Montrose sat 
for Auchterarder, the Earl of Lothian for Dalkeith, the Earl 
of Cassillis for Ayr, the Earl of Home for Chirnside. Almost 
every name of note was there. At one end of the church a 
chair of state was provided for the Royal Commissioner. 
Around him were ranged the members of the Privy Council — 
the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Privy Seal, Argyll, Marr, Moray, 
Glencairn, Lauderdale, Angus, Wigton, Perth, and others, 
their peers in pride and lineage. Right opposite to the Com- 
missioner was placed a small table for the moderator and 
clerk. Along the centre ran a long table, at which sat the 
nobles and barons who were members of the Court, among 

1 Baillie's Letters and Journals, pp. 118-24. See also Burnet's Memoirs 
of the Duke of Hamilton, p. 93. 

2 The Sederunt of the Assembly remains. This analysis of it was made 
by Principal Lee, and is given in a note subjoined to Peterkin's Records 
of the Church. It may be noted, however, that 140 ministers was not a 
full representation of the whole Church. 


whom might be discerned Rothes, Wemyss, Balmerino, Lindsay, 
Yester, Eglinton, Loudon, and many others, whose sole word 
was still law over large districts of Scotland. The ministers 
stood or sat behind, and did not, like the proud prelates, 
quarrel with earls for precedence. A gallery was assigned to 
young noblemen who were not members of the house ; and in 
a gallery loftier still was a crowd of persons of humbler degree, 
among whom many ladies might be seen, 1 some of whom had 
perhaps assisted to hoot unhappy prelates on the street, and 
now beheld with exultation the proud pageant of triumphant 
Presbytery. It must have been one of the noblest, strangest, 
most exciting spectacles that Scotland has ever seen. 

The first day was occupied with devotional exercises and 
the production of commissions. On the second day, the 
Covenanters argued that the first thing to be done was to 
elect a moderator, as otherwise the Assembly could not be 
constituted. The royalists maintained, that preliminary to 
this the roll must be made up by an examination of the com- 
missions, as without this it could not be known who were 
properly qualified to vote. Like to be foiled on this point, 
the Commissioner asked to be allowed to read a paper which 
had been handed to him by the bishops, before the moderator 
was chosen ; but he was instantly assailed by shouts of " No 
reading ! no reading ! " Speeches and clamour were followed 
by protests, and these were multiplied with such industry, that 
Baillie declares every one was weary of them except the clerk, 
who with every protest received a golden coin. At length the 
ground was cleared, and Alexander Henderson, minister of 
Leuchars, was almost unanimously chosen as moderator. The 
choice was a good one. Henderson already stood at the head 
of his party, and even his enemies bear witness to his gravity 
and learning. The only circumstance which made some of 
his friends hesitate about raising him to the moderator's chair 
was, that by doing so they would lose his assistance in debate, 
and in debate he was allowed to be unrivalled. Archibald 
Johnstone of Warriston was afterwards chosen as clerk — a man 
of an acute intellect, well versed in the law, and thoroughly 
devoted to the Presbyterian party. 

After the clerk was chosen, an interesting incident occurred. 
It was supposed that the ancient records of the Church had 
been lost ; Johnstone now stood up, stated that by a strange 
chance they had come into his hands, and produced them to 

1 Baillie, vol. i. p. 124. 

a. D. 1638.] ACTS OF THE ASSEMBLY. I 5 

the house. Amid much rejoicing a committee was appointed 
to examine the documents thus lost and found, which closed 
its labours by declaring that they were the authentic records 
of the General Assemblies from 1560 to 1590. Several days 
were now spent in examining commissions, and many sharp 
skirmishes were fought, in which his Grace was generally com- 
pelled to encounter single-handed all the polemics, both lay 
and clerical, of the Assembly. It was the 27th of November 
before the real business of the meeting began. On that day, 
a declinature of the Assembly's authority was given in by the 
bishops and their adherents. It was read amid contemptuous 
whispers and smiles. 1 On the next day the moderator put 
the question — Did the Assembly find itself a competent judge 
of the bishops ? The Lord High Commissioner now declared, 
that though he did not object to the trial of the bishops for 
any particular crimes of which they might have been guilty, 
if the Assembly proceeded to the censure of their offices, he 
must withdraw, as he could not give the royal countenance to 
any such procedure. The Assembly showed unmistakeably 
its intention to proceed. Altercation ran high ; angry words 
were exchanged ; the Commissioner complained that he was 
crossed in everything, and finally he declared the Assembly 
to be dissolved, and rose to leave the house. While he was 
yet going, a protest was being read that his departure would 
not hinder the Assembly from finishing the work it had on 

Undismayed by the absence of royalty, and a proclamation 
at the market-cross, that all who should henceforth join in its 
sittings would be regarded as guilty of treason, the Assembly 
proceeded to business. It felt that the withdrawal of Hamilton 
was fully compensated by the presence of Argyll, " the gleed 
marquis," as he was afterwards called, who now openly threw in his 
let with the Covenanters ; and gave them the weight of his great 
name, his wide possessions, and his diplomatic mind. They 
knew that in case of need he could bring five thousand clay- 
mores into the field, to help on the Covenanted work of 
Reformation. They passed an act declaring the Assemblies 
of 1606, 1608, 1 6 16, 161 7, and 1618, to have been so vitiated 
by kingly interference as to be null and void. They passed 
another act condemning the Service-Book, the Book of Canons, 
the Book of Ordination, and the Court of High Commission. 
They abjured Episcopacy and the Five Articles of Perth. 
1 Lwe Declaration, p. 247. 


They proceeded to the trial of the bishops. They were all 
charged with violating the caveats upon which they had been 
invested with the Episcopal office, and with Popish and 
Arminian errors ; many of them with Sabbath profanation ; 
and some of them with abominable crimes. The probation 
of the libels was referred to a committee. We are now in a 
great measure left to conjecture the nature and amount of the 
evidence that was led, but there is reason to fear that it was 
somewhat short-handed and one-sided, and that every wild 
rumour that was afloat was listened to as proof. The bishops, 
it must be remembered, were not present to defend themselves. 

The Archbishop of St Andrews was proved to have been 
guilty of riding through the country on the Lord's Day ; of 
carding and dicing during the time of divine service; of 
tippling in taverns till midnight ; of falsifying the Acts of 
Assembly ; of slandering the Covenant ! Surely this was 
enough, but beyond this, proof was offered of his adultery, 
his incest, his sacrilege, his simony. Who will believe this of 
an old man, whom two successive sovereigns, both virtuous, 
though both despotic, had raised to the highest . honours in 
the Church and the country, and against whose morals no 
word was spoken till the Assembly of 1638 was about to be 
held ? " The Bishop of Brechin," says Baillie, " was proven 
guilty of sundry acts of most vile drunkenness ; also a woman 
and child brought before us made his adultery very probable." 
The Bishop of Moray was convicted of "all the ordinary 
faults of a bishop/' and besides, says the historian, " there 
was objected against him, but, as I suspect, not sufficiently 
proved, his countenancing of a vile dance of naked people in 
his own house." Mr Andrew Cant, one of the members of 
the Assembly, was still more explicit upon this point, and 
declared that the bishop was "a pretty dancer," and that at 
his daughter's bridal he had danced in his shirt ! 

We confess our inability to believe these things, albeit they 
were proved to the satisfaction of the Assembly of 1638. 
Experience has proved that a man may be a bishop, and yet 
a good man ; a presbyter, and yet a bad man. The Assembly 
of 1638, however, got evidence to convince it that almost all 
the bishops and their adherents were abandoned debauchees, 
while no breath of suspicion was allowed to blow upon any 
who clamoured for Presbytery, and signed the Covenant. 
Shall we believe that all the vice of the country was on the 
one side, all the virtue on the other ? 


There can be no doubt that the great sin of the bishops 
was simply that they were bishops. Had it not been better 
and honester for the Assembly to have said so ? It is certain 
also that they had not that respect for what was called the 
sanctity of the Sabbath which has always been characteristic 
of Presbyterian Scotland. They aped the greater laxity of 
Episcopal England. They saw no evil in a ride on horseback, 
or a hand at whist, on the Sunday ; the Bishop of Orkney in- 
dulged in curling, and the minister of Glassford encouraged 
his parishioners to dance and play at the football when the 
sermon was done. In addition to this, it appears to be true, 
that a few of the Episcopalians were not very exemplary in 
their lives ; but in the eyes of that generation, their Episcopacy 
magnified their vices, while it obscured every virtue they 
happened to possess. 

The bishops were one and all deposed, not merely from 
their bishoprics, but from the office of the ministry ; and eight 
of them were excommunicated, although the majority of these 
were not even charged with immorality. The sentence of 
excommunication was still much more dreadful than outlawry : 
it involved the forfeiture of every civil right ; it might be fol- 
lowed with civil pains and punishments ; no person might 
deal with or even speak with an excommunicated man, and 
therefore the bishops were obliged to flee the country to save 
their lives. The sentence was not only mercilessly severe, but 
flagrantly unjust. It must be borne in mind that ever since 
the Reformation, the Church of Scotland had oscillated be- 
tween Presbytery and Episcopacy; that for the last thirty years 
— the length of a generation — it had been Episcopal ; that 
most of the bishops had found Episcopacy established when 
they entered the Church ; that all the ministers who now con- 
stituted this Assembly had sworn obedience to the bishops 
when they received their ordination ; and surely, then, it was 
scarcely fitting that these men, in these circumstances, should 
consign the members of the Episcopal bench not merely to 
infamy and exile, but in the solemn words of excommunication, 
" shut them out from the communion of the faithful; debar 
them from their privileges, and deliver them to Satan for the 
destruction of their flesh, that their spirits might be saved in 
the day of the Lord." 

Scotland did not wish bishops, and therefore, by all means, 
let bishops be got rid of. Let their surplices be torn from 
their backs ; their prelatic power and honour trampled in the 



dust ; their dioceses blotted from the map. If they have 
really been guilty of crimes, let them be deposed. But do 
not let men — simply because they were bishops, tinctured, 
perhaps, a little with Popery and Arminianism — be consigned 
to perdition. The Reformers, notwithstanding their stern and 
somewhat surly mood, did not thus treat the Papal prelates 
when they drove them from their cathedrals and altars. When 
one political party, in our day, succeeds to another, it does 
not consider it necessary to head and hang its predecessors. 

Three of the bishops — Dunkeld, Caithness, and Argyll — 
tried to save themselves from the proscription of their order, 
by submitting themselves to the Assembly, signing the Cove- 
nant, and abjuring Episcopacy. It saved them from excom- 
munication, but not from deposition. The Bishop of Dunkeld 
was an old, infirm man, unable to rise from his bed, and he 
begged that he might be allowed to die a minister of the 
gospel, but he was deprived of " all function of the ministry,' ' 
and only allowed to cherish the hope that he might be restored 
by undergoing a course of repentance. 1 A good many parish 
ministers shared the fate of the bishops. The offence with 
which they were generally charged was Arminianism ; for the 
Episcopalians were generally Arminians, as the Covenanters 
were, without exception, uncompromising Calvinists. 

The Assembly passed some other acts, which flowed as 
corollaries from those already mentioned. Having abolished 
the Episcopate, it restored the Presbyterian government by 
kirk-sessions, presbyteries, and provincial synods ; ordered all 
presentations to be directed to presbyteries ; forbade ministers 
to accept of civil offices or employments ; prohibited the 
printing of books connected with ecclesiastical affairs without 
a license ; addressed a letter to the king justifying its doings, 
and asking his approval. At length, on the 20th of December 
it closed its labours. 2 There is a tradition, though not very 
well authenticated, that Henderson, before leaving the chair, 

1 Peterkin's Records, p. 173. The Bishop of Dunkeld was subsequently 
made minister of St Madoes. The Bishops of Argyll and Orkney were also 
admitted to parochial charges. Episcopalians tauntingly tell that these 
were charged with as gross sins as the others, but that Episcopacy was all 
they were required to repent of. 

2 I have taken my account of this celebrated Assembly from its acts and 
proceedings ; from the contemporaneous history of its procedure to be 
found in Peterkin's Records, a most valuable collection of historical docu- 
ments ; and from the accounts given of it in Baillie's Letters, Burnet's 
Memoirs, and the Large Declaration. 


pronounced the words — "We have now cast down the walls of 
Jericho ; let him that rebuildeth them beware of the curse of 
Hiel the Bethelite." l 

Presbyterians, in general, look fondly back to 1638, and 
speak of it as the date of their second reformation. They 
have reason to do so. Ever since the unlucky riots in Edin- 
burgh in 1596, the cause of Presbytery had gone backwards. 
It had been bent and well nigh broken. In 1638 was the 
rebound, when bishops, surplices, ceremonies were thrown 
high into the air, and Presbytery was as free and elastic as 
ever. If there be some things to condemn in the Assembly 
of 1638, there is also much to admire. Its courage was 
wonderful \ the revolution it effected was complete. Its pro- 
ceedings were undoubtedly violent ; but so are all revolutions. 
The labour of thirty years was to be undone in a day. It is 
certain that in repudiating prelates and prelacy it only fulfilled 
the wish of the people, for thirty long years had not weaned 
them from their first love to Presbytery, nor reconciled them 
to Episcopacy. It has sometimes been objected to it, that 
it went beyond its own province, set acts of parliament 
at defiance, and abolished a hierarchy which was established 
by law. This is quite true ; it tore acts of parliament to 
tatters, and flew in the face of the king and his Council ; but 
after all, it is only such a legal objection as a special pleader 
might take. The Assembly of 1638 embraced the parliament \ 
it was the convened representatives of all the Estates ; its 
voice was the voice of the people. If the nation wished the 
change, it did not greatly matter whether it was effected by its 
representatives met in parliament or met in Assembly. Great 
movements seldom square themselves with law. It is worthy of 
remark, however, that the first Reformation in the Scotch Church 
was effected by the parliament ; the second by the General As- 
sembly. Eault was found with both ; the one was Erastian, the 
other was illegal. 

The violent dislike of Episcopacy so conspicuous in 
this Assembly is in some respects hard to be understood,. 
for Episcopacy had now existed for more than thirty years — ■ 
the lifetime of a generation — and the great majority of the 
clergy must have been educated in Episcopal notions, and 
ordained by Episcopal hands. There is reason, however, to 
believe that the real ruling power in the Assembly was the 

1 This is first found in Stevenson's History of the Church and State, 
and he quotes no authority. The same sentiment occurs in the scaffold 
speech of Guthrie. 


laity, led by the great nobles who were present, and that their 
zeal against the episcopate was quickened by their selfishness. 
They were afraid of their Church lands, as the king had been 
urging their surrender. They had discovered that Presbytery 
was cheaper and more modest than Episcopacy, and the aris- 
tocracy of Scotland were more Presbyterian at this crisis than 
they ever were before or since. But it would be altogether 
wrong to suppose that this was the only influence at work in 
this famous Assembly. There was the dread of the tyrannical 
Court of High Commission, the honest indignation of the 
people at the change in their worship, and the belief that the 
bishops had allied themselves with Laud and the king in their 
unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the national religion. 
The old stubborn spirit of independence flared up into fire. 

A week after the first meeting of the Assembly, the Marquis 
of Hamilton wrote to his Majesty, predicting how things were 
likely to go, and stating his conviction that nothing but an 
appeal to arms would succeed in restoring order. The Mar- 
quis chalks out the plan of a campaign ; and ends with a 
devout hope that his daughters might never be married in 
Scotland, and that all his sons might be bred as Englishmen. 
But the letter is specially interesting on account of the notices 
which it contains cf several of the actors upon the stage. 

" The Earl of Argyll," writes the Commissioner, " is the 
only man now called up as a true patriot, a loyal subject, a 
faithful counsellor, and, above all, rightly set for the preserva- 
tion of the purity of religion. And truly, Sir, he takes it upon 
him. He must be well loked to ; for it fears me he will prove 
the dangerousest man in the State. He is so far from ad- 
vancing Episcopal government, that with all his soul he wishes 
it totally abolished. What course to advise you to take with 
him for the present I cannot say, but remit it to your Majesty's 
serious consideration. 

" Now, for the Covenanters, I shall only say this in general, 
that they may all be placed in one roll as they now stand. 
But certainly, Sir, those that have both broached the business, 
and still hold it aloft, are Rothes, Balmerino, Lindsay, Lothian, 
Loudon, Yester, Cranstoun. There are many others as forward 
in show, among whom none more vainly foolish than Mon- 
trose." 1 

Besides these notices and some others, which indicate con- 

1 Letter, Hamilton to the King, 27th Nov. 1638. Peterkin, pp. 113- 


siderable penetration of character, the High Commissioner 
remarks, " the Lord Advocate should be removed, for he is 
ill-disposed." This was Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall, an 
able lawyer, but who, notwithstanding the office which he held, 
keenly sympathised with the Covenanters. The curious diary 
of this remarkable man has been published by the Bannatyne 
Club, and illustrates not merely the character of the man, but 
the character of the piety prevalent at the time. The Advo- 
cate of Scotland, like the Primate of All England, was a 
dreamer of dreams, and like him too, he was careful enough 
to record them in his diary. The Advocate's dreams, how- 
ever, were more religious than the archbishop's. "As I 
awakened on Wednesday in the morning, I fell in an earnest 
in-calling of the Lord, that His Majesty would pity His people, 
and vindicate them from the power and rage of His adver- 
saries, and would establish the glory of His blessed truth in 
the land. And while I was praying, these words were spoken, 
but whether by me or some other I dare not say, but the 
words were — ' I will pi'eserve and save my peopled "About 
midnight, as I was regretting'to the Lord the calamities of His 
Kirk, and humbly praying His Majesty to arise to the help 
thereof, and with tears begging till I became drowsy, I heard 
these words — c I will arise. 1 " " Being pressing the Lord for 
the good king, and humbly praying for the accomplishment of 
God's work, I heard this voice — ' I have done it? "* 

Civil war was now imminent ; and both parties were pre- 
paring for it. We have already had some indications of the 
preparations of the king, his train of artillery, his ammunition, 
his ships, his treasure ; and the Covenanters were not behind. 
Quite as early as the king, they had begun to buy arms and 
enlist soldiers. At this very time the Thirty Years' War w r as 
raging on the Continent. The House of Austria had un- 
sheathed the sword, attempted to wrest from Protestantism 
the wide provinces it had won, and, led by the genius of Tilly 
and Wallenstein, its armies were everywhere victorious. At 
this critical time for the religion and liberties of Europe, 
Gustavus Adolphus, with his invincible Swedes, came thun- 
dering from the north like an avalanche from the hills. Many 
adventurers from Scotland, having no fighting to do at home, 
hurried to join him. The greatest of the imperial generals 
quailed in his presence. Tilly succumbed to him at Leipsic 

1 See Sir Thomas Hope's Diary, Ban. Ed. Also Napier's Life and 
Times of Montrose, pp. 94-100, 114-22. 


and the Lech ; and at Liitzen, neither the strategy of Wallen- 
stein nor the awful charges of Pappenheim could save the 
imperial troops from the resistless rush of the Swedes, mad- 
dened by the death of their king. After this fatal day the fury 
of the war abated, and many of the Scotch adventurers re- 
turned homewards, where there were already rumours of wars. 
The most distinguished of these military adventurers was 
Alexander Leslie, now destined to be the leader of the 
Covenanting armies. The description given of him by Spald- 
ing is so amusing that we cannot refrain from transcribing 
it- — " About this time, or a little before/' says he, " there 
came out of Germany from the wars, home to Scotland, a 
gentleman, of base birth, born in Balvany, who had served 
long and fortunately in the German wars, and called to his 
name Felt-Marshall Leslie, his Excellence. His name, indeed, 
was Alexander Leslie ; but his valour and good-luck attained 
to this title, ' his Excellence/ inferior to none but to the 
King of Sweden, under whom he served amongst all his 
cavallirie. Well \ this Felt-Marshall Leslie, having conquest, 
from nought, honour and wealth in great abundance, resolved 
to come home to his native country of Scotland, and settle 
beside his chief, the Earl of Rothes, as he did indeed, and 
coft fair lands in Fife. But this Earl, foreseeing the troubles 
whereof himself was one of the principal beginners, took hold 
of this Leslie, who was both wise and stout, acquaints him 
with his plot, and had his advice for farthering thereof to his 
power. And first he advises cannon to be cast in the Potterow, 
by one Captain Hamilton ; he began to drill the Earl's men in 
Fife ; he caused send to Holland for ammunition, powder and 
ball, muskets, carbines, pistols, pikes, swords, cannon, cartell, 
and all other sort of necessary arms, fit for old and young 
soldiers, in great abundance \ he caused send to Germany, 
France, Holland, Denmark, and other countries for the most 
expert and valiant captains, lieutenants, and under officers, 
who came in great numbers, in hopes of bloody wars." 

Early in the spring of 1639, the royal army was 
a.d. 1639. muster jng at York. The English clergy, regard- 
ing it as an Episcopal war, contributed liberally to its sinews. 1 
The English nobility obeyed the old feudal call to meet the 
king, who purposed leading his army in person. The Earl of 
Arundel was made general—" a man," says Clarendon, " who 
was thought to be made choice of for his negative qualities. 

1 Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. i. 

A.D. 1639. J THE TWO ARMIES. 2$ 

He did not love the Scots ; he did not love the Puritans ; 
which qualifications were allayed by another negative, he did 
not love much anybody else." 1 The Earl of Essex, already a 
favourite with the army, and afterwards so celebrated as the 
leader of the Parliamentary forces, was made lieutenant- 
general. The Earl of Holland was made general of the horse. 
The whole army amounted to upwards of twenty thousand 
men, and was well officered, well equipped, and followed by a 
powerful train of artillery. Besides these land preparations, a 
fleet was despatched to the Frith of Forth, under the command 
of the Marquis of Hamilton, to interrupt trade, threaten Leith, 
and favour the rising of the Marquis of Huntly in the north. 

Meantime, the Covenanters were not idle. Baillie com- 
plains that, at this juncture, the management of affairs 
passed from the many to the few. " The secret wheels," 
says he, " whereupon this work has run, are all within the 
curtain, where the like of me wins not." He tells us he 
saw the handles of the clock moving, but not the mechan- 
ism by which they were moved. 2 The result was both 
natural and necessary : the government of the country, with 
civil war impending, could not be carried on by a mob of 
ministers. The preparations for war went briskly on. 
Noblemen acted as colonels \ ploughmen were drilled into 
soldiers ; the Castles of Edinburgh and Dumbarton were 
seized ; fast-days were held ; and sermons preached, in which 
the people were called to come to the help of the Lord against 
the mighty. 3 

By the end of May the Scotch Covenanting army was 
encamped at Dunse-Law, where it could be distinctly seen by 
the king through his telescope from the other side of the 
Tweed, where his forces were posted. The Scotch array 
was somewhat tattered, but still it was full of enthusiasm, 
and the (i old, little, crooked soldier," Leslie, managed to 
keep both proud barons and raw ploughmen in wonderful 
order. " It would have done you good," says Baillie, " to 
have cast your eyes athwart our brave and rich hill, as often 
I did with great contentment and joy, for I was there among 
the rest, being chosen preacher by the gentlemen of our 
shire, who came late with my Lord of Eglinton. I furnished 
to half a dozen good fellows muskets and picks, and to my 

1 Clarendon's History, vol. i. p. 91. 

2 Letters and Journals, vol. i. p. 186. 

3 Burnett's Memoirs, p. 115. Baillie, vol. i. p. 195. 


boy a broadsword. I carried myself, as the fashion was, a 
sword, and a couple of Dutch pistols at my saddle ; but I 
promise for the offence of no man, except a robber in the 
way i for it was our part alone to pray and preach for the 
encouragement of our countrymen, which I did to my power 
most cheerfully. Our hill was garnished on the top with our 
mounted cannon, well-nigh to the number of forty, great and 
small. Our regiments lay on the sides of the hill, almost 

round about The crowners lay in canvas lodges, high 

and wide ; the captains about them in lesser ones ; the 
soldiers about all in huts of timber, covered with divot and 
straw. ... It was thought the country of England was more 
afraid for the barbarity of the highlanders than of any other 
terror ; those of the English that came to visit our camp did 
gaze much with admiration upon these supple fellows, with 
their plaids, targes, and dorlachs. . . . Our captains were, for 
the most part, barons or gentlemen of good note; our lieuten- 
ants almost all soldiers who had served over sea in good 
charges ; every company had flying at the captain's tent 
door a brave new colour, stamped with the Scottish arms, 
and the ditton, For Christ's Crown and Covenant, in 
golden letters. Our general had a brave royal tent, but it 
was not set up ; his constant guard was some hundreds of 
our lawyers, musketeers, under Durie and Hope's command, 
all the way standing in good arms, and with cocked matches, 

before his gate, well apparelled Had you lent your ear 

in the morning, or especially at the evening, and heard in the 
tents the sound of some singing psalms, some praying, and 
some reading Scripture, you would have been refreshed. True, 
there was swearing, and cursing, and brawling in some quarters, 
whereat we were grieved." 1 

The two armies lay for some time looking at each other 
across the Tweed. Both were unwilling to come to blows, and 
gradually both became more and more anxious for an accom- 
modation. The king knew that there was much discontent, 
and little willingness to fight, on the part of his nobles ; the 
Covenanters knew that it would be impossible to keep their 
array long together. This mutual feeling becoming known, 
the Covenanters sent the Earl of Dunfermline with a suppli- 
cation " to the King's most excellent Majesty," praying him 
to nominate some of his English subjects, well affected to the 
true religion and their common peace, to meet with some of 
1 Letters and Journals, vol. i. pp. 211-14. 

A.D. 1039.] TREATY OF PEACE. 25 

them, that all misunderstandings might be removed, and the 
two kingdoms kept in quietness. The king listened to the 
supplication, and the consequence was that a deputation of 
the Scotch Covenanters crossed the Tweed, and came to the 
Earl of Arundel's tent to treat of peace. 1 They were 
scarcely entered till the king came in, " at whose unexpected 
presence," says Baillie, " we were somewhat moved, but yet 
very glad." His Majesty said he came there to hear all they 
had to say, and is confessed to have listened with great 
patience and kindness to the free outspoken statements of the 
Covenanters. The truth is, Charles had a quiet, king-like 
manner, which fascinated many. There was a second and a 
third interview, and the happy result was a pacification. "- 

It was carried out in the following fashion : — The king 
published a declaration, in which he set forth his resolution to 
hold a free General Assembly at Edinburgh on the 6th of 
August^ and a parliament on the 20th of the same month, for 
ratifying what should be concluded in the Assembly ; and, 
further, to recall his fleets and his armies so soon as the Cove- 
nanters disbanded their forces, restored the castles which they 
held, and broke up the Tables. On the back of this the 
Covenanters signed an agreement to disband their forces 
within twenty-four hours, surrender their strongholds, hold no 
meetings but such as were warrantable by law, and carry them- 
selves like humble, loyal, and obedient subjects. 3 The terms 
of the treaty were faithfully kept, and happily the country 
was once more at peace, without a single drop of blood being 

The time rapidly approached when the Assembly must meet. 
The king was resolved that the Assembly of 1638 should not 
be recognised, but willing that most of its acts should be passed 
anew. He had at length brought himself, though not without 
a struggle, to give up the Episcopate, but was anxious that, 
if abolished, it should be so, "' not as a point of Popery, or 
contrary to God's law, or the Protestant religion," but simply 
" as contrary to the constitution of the Church of Scotland." 
The king's relation to the Episcopal Church of England made 
him naturally and properly anxious on this point. He had 
promised at first to be present in the Assembly himself, but 
changing his mind, he asked the Marquis of Hamilton again 

1 See Letters, Supplications, &c, in Peterkin's Records, pp. 225-30. 

- Baillie, vol. i. pp. 216, 217. 

3 Peterkin's Records, pp. 230, 231. 


to represent him, but Hamilton begged to be excused ; and 
the Earl of Traquair, the Lord Treasurer of the kingdom, 
was appointed to the difficult, though honourable post. 

It was the 12th of August before the Assembly sat down. 
The Covenanters had agreed to humour the king, and waive 
all mention of the Assembly of 1638, but its principal acts 
were to be brought forward and passed. Upon the 17th, an 
act was accordingly passed, in which, after a long preamble, 
it is ordained, " that the Service-Book, Books of Canons and 
Ordination, and the High Commission, be still rejected; that 
the Articles of Perth be no more practised ; that Episcopal 
government, and the civil powers and places of kirkmen, be 
holden still as unlawful in this Kirk; that the pretended 
Assemblies at Linlithgow in 1606 and 1608, at Glasgow in 
1 6 10, at Aberdeen 16 16, at Perth 16 18, be hereafter accounted 
as null and of none effect; and that, for preservation of reli- 
gion, and preventing all such evils in time coming, General 
Assemblies, rightly constitute, as the proper and competent 
judge of all matters ecclesiastical, hereafter be kept yearly and 
oftener pro re nata, as occasion and necessity shall require ; 
the necessity of these occasional Assemblies being first re- 
monstrate to his Majesty by humble supplication ; as also that 
kirk-sessions, presbyteries, and synodical assemblies, be con- 
stitute and observed according to the order of the Kirk." 1 

When this act was about to pass, and it was known that 
the High Commissioner was willing to give it his consent, the 
General Assembly became jubilant with joy. The old men 
especially, who remembered the heyday of Presbytery forty 
years ago, could not refrain from weeping, and must have felt 
like the aged Jews, when they saw the second temple rising 
from the ground, and wept when they thought of the glory of 
the first. "Old Mr John Row," so the chronicle runs, "being 
next called upon, said — I bless, I glorify, I magnify the God 
of heaven and earth, that has pitied this poor Church, and 
given us such matter of joy and consolation, and the Lord 
make us thankful, first to our gracious and loving God, and 
next obedient subjects to his Majesty." " Mr John Wemyss 
being called upon, could scarce get a word for tears trickling 
down along his grey hairs, like drops of rain or dew upon the 
top of the tender grass, and yet withal smiling for joy." 2 

So far well. Thus, for the second time, did the Covenanters 

1 Acts of Assembly 1639, in Peterkin's Records. 

2 Peterkin's Records, pp. 251, 252. 


throw down the walls of Jericho. Unhappily, they proceeded 
still farther. They not only renewed the Covenant, with 
an explanatory clause, but ordained that all should be 
compelled to swear to it ; that it should be especially adminis- 
tered to all Papists and others suspected of disaffection to the 
good cause ; and that the Privy Council should be requested 
to superadd civil pains to ecclesiastical censures in cases of 
reluctance. The Covenant was no longer a bond of brother- 
hood, but an instrument of oppression ; designed at first to 
work out civil and religious liberty, it was now to be employed 
to coerce the consciences, and do violence to the faith of the 
down-trodden Papists and Prelatists. Strange inconsistency ! 
The Covenanters knew full well that it was wrong for the 
Episcopalians to touch a hair of their head ; but they knew not 
that it was wrong for them to compel Episcopalians to swear to 
a Covenant they abhorred, with outlawry before them in case 
of refusal. 

Other parts of the Assembly's procedure equally exhibited 
the fierce intolerance which, strangely enough, kept fellowship 
with so much piety. The king had quite recently published 
his " Large Declaration/' in which he had traced the history of 
the troubles in Scotland, and attempted to vindicate his own 
conduct in regard to them. This treatise bore the king's name 
as its author, but it was known to have been written by Dr 
Balcanquhal, Dean of Durham, a Scotsman by birth. It gives 
most of the manifestoes which were issued on both sides with 
perfect fairness, and is therefore invaluable to the historian ; 
and though it tells its story in such a way as best to justify the 
king, and throw the whole blame of the troubles on the Cove- 
nanters, it is difficult to detect in it any positive untruths. It 
would not be easy to mention any narrative published by the op- 
posite party more candid, more dispassionate, or more truthful. 
Yet, undeterred by the royal name on the title-page, the 
Assembly condemned the book "as dishonourable to God, to 
the Kirk, to the kingdom, and as stuffed with a huge number 
of lies." This being determined, the Assembly next proceeded 
to decide what should be done with the delinquent Balcan- 
quhal, when the following speeches were made : — 

" Mr Andrew Cant said — It is so full of gross absurdities, 
that I think hanging of the author should prevent all other cen- 

" The Moderator answered — That punishment is not in the 
hands of Kirkmen. 


" The Sheriff of Teviotdale, being asked his judgment, said 
— Ye were offended with a Churchman's hard sentence already ; 
but truly I could execute that sentence with all my heart, 
because it is more proper to me, and I am better acquainted 
with hanging. 

" My Lord Kirkcudbright said — It is a great pity that many 
honest men in Christendom, for writing little books called 
pamphlets, should want ears; and false knaves, for writing such 
volumes, should brook heads." 

This looks like a grim joke, but be this as it may, the 
Assembly went to the utmost extent of its power, by petition- 
ing the king to have the book suppressed, and Dr Balcanquhal 
visited with exemplary punishment. 1 

The Assembly of 1639 imitated the spirit and carried out the 
intention of the Assembly of 1638, by deposing a long list of 
ministers, whose chief fault seems to have been their dislike of 
the Covenant, and their attachment to Episcopacy. Some of 
them were charged with Arminianism, with Popery, with im- 
morality, but it would seem that these crimes were confined to 
the Prelatists, and that very little proof sufficed for a verdict of 

On the 30th of August the Assembly closed its sittings. 
Traquair had shown himself very compliant ; he gave his 
sanction to everything which had been done, and subscribed 
the Covenant ; but for this he was sharply taken to task by his 
master. He had thought that the phrase " unlawful in this 
Kirk," used in the Act of Assembly abolishing Episcopacy, 
would satisfy the king ; but the king argued that this was quite 
different from the words which he wished, " contrary to the 
constitution of this Kirk ;" and that if Episcopacy were allowed 
to be unlawful in the Church of Scotland, it might be held to be 
unlawful in the Church of England too. 2 Already there was a 
feeling of uneasiness in regard to this. The same alarm was 
felt as when a neighbour's house is on fire. 

The parliament sat down on the very day after the Assembly 
rose. As the ecclesiastical Estate had no representatives, a 
difficulty arose in regard to the choosing of the Lords of the 
Articles ; but it was got over by the Commissioner nominating 
the eight nobles who by law should have been nominated by 
the bishops. Several bills bearing upon the abolition of Epis- 
copacy had passed the Articles, but were not yet brought up 

1 Peterkin's Records, p. 268. 

2 Letter, the King to Traquair. 1st October 1639. Peterkin, p. 236. 


for the sanction of the Estates ; and the time was protracted 
from day to day, and from week to week, while posts passed 
to and from London. On the 24th of October, the parliament 
was prorogued till the 14th of November, and on the 14th of 
November till the 2d of June 1640, with nothing actually done. 
No marvel the Covenanters were indignant, and felt that they 
were mocked. The truth is, the king was irritated at some 
things which had been done in the Assembly, and did not wish 
them to be ratified in the parliament, as they assuredly would 
have been. He still clung to the hope of being able to restore 
Episcopacy, and did not wish to commit himself farther than he 
could help. 1 It had been far wiser and honester had he 
yielded freely and at once to the wishes of his people. Had 
he done so, he would have saved both his life and his crown. 

In December 1639, Archbishop Spottiswood disappeared 
from the stage where he had for thirty years been the principal 
actor. He died an old man, and an exile in England. He 
was the son of the venerable Spottiswood who was the first 
superintendent of Lothian, and one of the firmest pillars of the 
Reformation. Ambitious of preferment, he early devoted him- 
self to the king and the Episcopal party, and got the reward of 
his services by being made first Archbishop of Glasgow, and 
afterwards Archbishop of St Andrews. He is disliked by 
Presbyterians as the chief agent employed by the king to force 
Episcopacy on the country ; and though some of the violent 
measures of the court were taken against his better judgment, 
perhaps on that account his conduct is all the more reprehen- 
sible, as he gave them his active support. It were uncharitable 
to doubt his conscientious preference of Episcopacy to Pres- 
bytery, but it cannot be denied that he was willing to sacrifice 
his country's faith to his own ambition. 

He has enriched our literature with a history of the Church, 
in which we are able to trace, very clearly, the character of the 
man. We fail to discern any marks of genius ; we never 
stumble upon a brilliant saying or a lofty sentiment ; but we 
everywhere see the traces of sound judgment and diligent re- 
search. Upon the whole, he is candid and truthful, even when 
relating the debateable events in which he himself bore so con- 
spicuous a part. He of course tells his own story in his own 
way; but he seldom perverts a fact, more seldom still utters a 
falsehood, and was evidently free of all bigotry and fanaticism. 
He may be pronounced a liberal-minded and enlightened man, 

1 Letter, the King to Traquair, 1st October 1639. Peterkin, p. 236. 


though he lived in stormy times, and unfortunately allowed 
himself to become the slave and tool of despotic power. 
When no longer able to defend himself, he was charged with 
crimes which no impartial person will believe. But we may 
believe that he imitated the freer manners at that time pre- 
valent among the dignitaries of the English Church. He did 
not devote the Sunday to gloom. He loved a game at cards 
or at dice. He could be joyous over a glass of wine. The 
austere Covenanters were scandalised at these things, and 
hurled at him their great anathema maranatha; but Covenanters 
and archbishop are now alike in the grave, where " their love, 
and their hatred, and their envy are perished," and let us there- 
fore, so far as truth will allow, think well of the dead. 1 

When the Earl of Traquair returned to London, 
4 °' he carried with him a letter, which had fallen into 
his hands, in which the Covenanters solicited the assistance of 
the French King, as the ancient ally of their nation. Though 
greatly irritated by this, the king listened to a petition which 
they had transmitted to him, requesting permission to send 
some of their number to court to vindicate their proceedings. 
The Earls of Loudon and Dunfermline were accordingly 
despatched to London, and during the month of March 1640, 
the sovereign granted them several interviews, but at length 
declared that he saw no ground for ratifying the proceedings 
of the last Assembly. A few days afterwards the Earl of Lou- 
don was taken into custody, and committed to the Tower 
upon a charge of treason, his name being one of those 
attached to the letter soliciting the assistance of the French 
King. Loudon pleaded that the letter, though written, had 
never been sent ; that he had come to England under the 
royal protection, and was not amenable to an English tribunal 
for a crime committed in Scotland. These pleas were un- 
doubtedly good in law, but Loudon was still detained in the 
Tower, and would probably have been brought to trial, had 
not the Marquis of Hamilton interfered. By his mediation, 
Loudon was liberated in the month of June, having entered 
into a private agreement with the king to do him what service 
he could in Scotland as the price of his liberty, and probably 
his life. 2 This episode is made more curious by the fact, now 

1 Burnet says of him " that he was a prudent and mild man, but of no 
great decency in his course of life." History of his own Time, vol. i. 
p. 26. 

2 See the documents in Peterkin's Records, p. 283. Also in Burnet's 

A.D. 1640. J A PARLIAMENT. 31 

known, that the king himself had been carrying on secret 
negotiations with France, Spain, and the Vatican. 1 

A parliament had not met in England for twelve years, but 
now the king was reluctantly compelled to have recourse to 
one, probably thinking that the treasonable letter of the 
Covenanters would rouse the national feeling, and lead to a 
vote for renewing the war. But the indignation of the country 
had been slowly accumulating against the arbitrary government 
of the king, and the parliament obstinately refused to grant 
any supplies, till they had first obtained a redress of their 
grievances. There was nothing for it but to dissolve the par- 
liament, and dissolved it was. Meanwhile the 2d of June 
approached, to which the Scottish parliament was prorogued ; 
and though a commission was sent down for a further proro- 
gation, advantage was taken of a technical blunder, and the 
Estates proceeded to business, enacted into laws the bills which 
had previously passed the Lords of the Articles, and nominated 
a committee to carry on the government of the country. The 
29th of July came round too, and the Assembly met at Aber- 
deen. The moderator asked if any Commissioners were pre- 
sent to represent his Majesty, and none appearing, work was 
begun. An act was passed for demolishing monuments of 
idolatry ; another against witches and charmers ; another 
against revilers of the Covenant ; but the most vehement de- 
bates regarded private religious meetings conducted by laymen, 
which had sprung up in different parts of the country, and of 
which we shall hear more afterwards. 2 

The Covenanters did not trust to the acts of the parliament 
and the General Assembly for protection. During the spring 
and summer their drums had been beating to arms ; and the 
cajoleries of the recruiting-serjeant were seconded by the 
sermons of the ministers. Such was the spirit of the times 
that the rich brought their plate and had it melted down for 
the support of the army, receiving bonds for its repayment 
subscribed by the nobles. While the parliament and Assem- 
bly were yet sitting, the Earl of Argyll and General Munro 
were carrying the terror of their arms into the north, and 
ravishing the lands of all who were enemies to the Covenant. 
By the beginning of August a large army was marching from 
Edinburgh towards the south, with the renowned Felt-Mar- 
shal Leslie at its head. It halted for two or three weeks at 

1 Fall of the Monarchy of Charles I., by Dr S. Rawson Gardiner. 

2 Peterkin's Records, p. 279. 


Dunse-Law, the place of its former encampment, and then on 
the 2 1 st of the month boldly crossed the Tweed, the Earl of 
Montrose being the first to plunge into the stream at the head 
of the van-guard. 

So soon as the Covenanters found themselves upon English 
soil, they published "Six Considerations of the Lawfulness of 
their Expedition into England Manifested." 1 By the 27th 
they had reached Newburn upon the Tyne, where Lord Con- 
way was posted to oppose their progress; but on the following 
day, after a short cannonade, the river was crossed, and the 
English fled without stopping to fight. On the 30th the 
Scotch were in possession of Newcastle, where the utmost 
consternation prevailed, which spread to Durham and even to 
York, where the king was encamped with an army of about 
18,000 men. The Covenanters, however, used their victory 
with moderation, and confidence was restored. The colliers 
resumed their labours in the coal-pits; the lighters entered 
the river to receive their cargoes for the metropolis ; and every- 
thing went on as usual. 

An instance of the kindly feeling which prevailed may be 
given. The English were unwilling that their young planta- 
tions should be cut down to make huts for the army. The 
Scotch were unwilling to offend them. A deputation was 
therefore despatched to Edinburgh to explain the difficulty. 
A sermon on the subject was preached on the Sunday, and on 
that very afternoon the goodwives of the town brought forth 
their well- stored webs of linen, and prolonging the pious work 
till the following day, furnished sufficient to make tents for the 
Covenanted warriors. 2 

Having obtained the great success implied in the possession 
of Newcastle, the commissioners of the late parliament now 
petitioned the sovereign, through his Secretary for Scotland, 
the Earl of Lanark, to right their wrongs, and settle a firm and 
durable peace. About the same time Charles received a peti- 
tion from a number of his greatest English nobles, begging 
him to hold a parliament. Thus beset on the right hand and 
on the left, — with a hostile army in the midst of the country, 
and his peers uniting with his people in wishing for a parlia- 
ment, — he felt it was impossible to resist. He requested the 
Covenanters to appoint commissioners to meet with fifteen of 
his English nobility, to negotiate an adjustment of differences. 

1 Rushworth's Collections, vol. iii. p. 1223. 

2 Baillie, vol. i. p. 255. 


He summoned a parliament to meet at Westminster on the 
3d of November. 1 

The negotiators appointed by the king and the Covenanters 
met at Ripon, and soon arranged that the Scottish army should 
lie inactive at Newcastle, and that for doing so they should 
get ^850 per day. They were in no hurry to settle matters 
farther, and as the English peers were anxious to be present 
in their places in parliament when it met, the negotiations 
were transferred to London. 2 

Great events now crowd upon one another. The Long 
Parliament met ; Strafford and Laud were impeached by the 
Commons ; acts were passed, speeches made, and petitions 
presented, which clearly manifested the determination of the 
country to narrow the prerogative of the Crown, and either 
modify the Episcopate, or to pluck it up " root and branch." 3 
Meanwhile the Scottish Commissioners were comfortably lodged 
in the heart of the city, and had the Church of St Antholin's 
assigned them for the exercise of their worship. Here Hender- 
son, Gillespie, and Baillie preached upon the controverted 
points between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians, between 
the Arminians and Calvinists, and thousands upon thousands. 
Sunday after Sunday, flocked to hear them. Those who could 
not find room within besieged the doors and clung to the 
windows, anxious to catch the faintest echoes of their northern 
eloquence. 4 Pamphleteering was superadded to preaching, 
and more than one tract, upon the subject then agitating the 
English mind, emanated from the pen of the Scottish divines. 
This, it must be confessed, was worthy of their zeal as apostles 
of Presbytery, but scarcely in keeping with their character as 
national negotiators. 

At length terms of peace were agreed upon, the chief of 
which were, — That the acts of the parliament held at Edin- 
burgh in June should be published by his Majesty's authority, 
and have in all time to come the full strength of laws ; that 

1 See Peterkin for Documents, pp. 299, 300. 
- Rushworth, vol. iii. pp. 1 295- 1306. 

3 There was a petition numerously signed by the inhabitants of London 
presented to the parliament, praying them to remove Episcopacy "root 
and branch." It was generally known as the "Root and Branch Peti- 

4 Clarendon, vol. i. p. 150. Baillie, vol. i., where, in several of his 
letters, he gives an account of the way in which the Commissioners dis- 
charged their duties, and presents us with some life-like pictures of the 
state of society in London at the time, and of the great events which were 
passing there. 



the Castle of Edinburgh and other strongholds should be 
furnished and used for the defence of the kingdom, with the 
advice of the States of parliament : that his Majesty should 
not employ any one in any office who should be adjudged 
incapable by sentence of parliament : and that, " whereas 
unity in religion and uniformity in Church government has 
been desired by the Scots, as a special means for preserving 
the peace between both kingdoms, his Majesty, with advice 
of both Houses of Parliament, doth approve of the affection 
of his subjects of Scotland, in their desire of having a con- 
formity of Church government between the two nations ; and 
as the parliament has already taken into consideration the 
reformation of Church government, so they will proceed therein 
in due time, as shall best conduce to the glory of God, the 
peace of the Church, and both kingdoms." To these were 
added an act of oblivion, and a grant to the Scots of ^220,000 
in name of brotherly assistance. All this was arranged by the 
middle of December, but it was not till August in the following 
year that it was ratified and confirmed by the English parlia- 
ment. 1 The passage of the Tweed by the Covenanting army 
had effected the great end in view — the Scotch had obtained 
the overthrow of Episcopacy, and the English had obtained a 

On the 20th of July 1641, a few weeks before 
the ratification of these Articles, the General 
Assembly met at St Andrews, and the Earl of Wemyss 
appeared as his Majesty's Commissioner. On the 27th it 
was adjourned to Edinburgh at the request of a deputation 
from the parliament, and Alexander Henderson was once 
more raised to the moderator's chair. The heart-burnings 
about private religious meetings were renewed. Some minis- 
ters patronised such meetings, others were indignant at them, 
and the discussions terminated in a very indefinite and ambi- 
guous act. A letter was received from some of the Puritan 
ministers of England asking the judgment of the Kirk in 
regard to Presbytery and Independency, and an answer was 
returned applauding the one and condemning the other. The 
moderator was commissioned to prepare a catechism, a con- 
fession, a directory for worship, and a form of Church govern- 
ment — an index of the growing desire to have a religious 
conformity with England. While the Assembly was sitting a 
painful circumstance occurred. A minister from Peebles- 
1 Neal, vol. i. p. 723. Rushworth, vol. iv. p. 373-75. 


shire, in walking from Leith to Edinburgh on a Sunday after- 
noon, quarrelled with a man by the way, and drawing his 
" whinger," stabbed him that he died. The minister was 
hanged for it. 1 

The parliament of Scotland had already been several times 
prorogued, on the plea that the treaty of peace was still pend- 
ing, and that the king intended being present in person when 
his affairs in England would allow him to visit his native 
country. Wearied of these repeated prorogations, and im- 
patient to proceed to some matters which they considered to 
be pressing, the Estates sat repeatedly during the month of 
July, on the pretence that they would only prepare business 
for the subsequent approval of the king in his parliament. 
There were now bitter jealousies, rivalries, and feuds among 
the nobles themselves. The Earl of Traquair, Sir John Hay, 
Sir Robert Spottiswood, and some others, were branded as 
" incendiaries," being blamed for having kindled war between 
the king and the country. The Marquis of Montrose, Lord 
Napier, and Stirling of Keir, were stigmatized as '•plotters/' 
for having signed a private bond among themselves, which was 
thought to infringe upon the Covenant. The Earl of Argyll, 
while worshipped by the many, was vehemently suspected by 
a few as aiming at a dictatorship in the north. Lord Rothes, 
who was known as the Father of the Covenant, a man of good 
presence, pleasing manners, and great ability, but a loose liver, 
had taken up his residence at the court, had gained the con- 
fidence of the king and the heart of the Countess-dowager of 
Devonshire, and was on the eve of becoming a great and rich 
man, and probably a renegade, when he died. 2 The Earl of 
Loudon had secretly engaged himself to the king, to escape the 
doom of a traitor; but this was publicly unknown, and he still 
kept company with the Covenanters, and it is very doubtful if 
he was faithful to the private promises he had made. The 
Marquis of Hamilton had many enemies, and many things 
were whispered against him. Lord Ker, in a drinking-bout, 
declared he was a juggler, and a traitor both to his king and 
his country, and sent him a challenge ; and the parliament 
thought it necessary to pass an act declaring his integrity \ 
and at the same time a Colonel Stewart was hanged, simply 
for some lies he was said to have told against the Earl of 

1 Baillie's Letters, &c, vol. i. pp. 362-76. Peterkin's Records, pp. 
293-97. 2 Baillie, vol. i. p. 354. 


On Saturday, the 14th of August, Charles arrived in Edin- 
burgh, and took up his residence in Holyrood House, having 
supped the night before with General Leslie at Newcastle. 1 
Henderson was attached to his Majesty as chaplain, and 
preached before him next day in the Abbey Church. The 
king did not return to sermon in the afternoon, being some- 
what wearied with his journey \ but his chaplain informed him 
that such half-day attendance would not do in Scotland, upon 
which his Majesty promised to be more exemplary in future. 
" Mr Alexander," says Baillie, speaking of the way in which 
Henderson discharged his chaplaincy, " in the morning, and 
evening before supper, does daily say prayer, read a chapter, 
sing a psalm, and say prayer again. The king hears all duly, 
and we hear none of his complaints for want of a liturgy or 
any ceremonies." 2 In 1633 the king had concussed his nobles 
into joining in the Episcopal service. They now paid him 
back, by concussing him to take a part in the Presbyterian 
one. After all, it was better that the many should concuss the 
one, than that the one should concuss the many. 

On Tuesday his Majesty proceeded to the parliament in his 
coach, there being no " riding," according to the ancient and 
laudable custom of the realm. He made a gracious speech 
to his Estates, declaring that he had come to his native 
country " to perfect whatever he had promised." The Lord 
Burleigh, President of the Parliament, bade him welcome ; 
and the Earl of Argyll made a speech, comparing the kingdom 
to a vessel tossed in a tempestuous sea, and his Majesty to a 
skilful pilot, steering her amidst rocks and sands to a safe 
anchorage. 3 The parliament sat long. Its time was chiefly 
occupied with trivial disputes, with committing the incen- 
diaries to prison, and ordering the " band " of the plotters to 
be burned by the common hangman ; but it passed acts which 
were important enough to work a complete revolution in the 
kingdom. It was ordained that none should sit in the parlia- 
ment till they first took the Covenant ; and the Duke of 
Lennox, the Marquis of Hamilton, and the Earls of Morton, 
Roxburgh, Annandale, Kinnoul, Carnwath, and some others, 
were kept in an outer room till they did so. 4 The treaty with 
England was touched by the sceptre, and so invested with all 
the force of a law. The thirty-nine acts of the parliament 

1 Balfour's Annals, vol. iv. p. 39. Baillie, vol. i. 

2 Letters and Journals, vol. i. pp. 385, 386. 

:i Balfour, vol. iii. p. 42. 4 Ibid. vol. iii. p. 44. 


which had assembled in June 1640, and proceeded to business 
without the royal sanction, were now fully ratified, and thereby 
Presbytery was fully established, the prerogatives of the Crown 
seriously diminished, and even the constitution of the parlia- 
ment in some respects changed. 1 

The king gave his sanction to all this, though it must have 
been with a grudge. He did more : he conferred honours 
upon the men who had defied him in the council and the field. 
The Earl of Argyll was made a marquis ; Lords Loudon and 
Lindsay, and General Leslie, were made earls ; Archibald 
Johnstone and some others were dubbed knights. Then came 
the scramble for place and power. Loudon got the chan- 
cellorship. Argyll, Glencairn, and Lindsay were made joint 
treasurers. Vacancies were created in the Privy Council and 
on the judicial bench by the degradation of royalists, and the 
most zealous Covenanters were advanced to their places. 
Then came the division of the ecclesiastical spoil. Happily 
the universities were attended to. Glasgow got the Bishopric 
of Galloway \ Edinburgh the Bishoprics of Edinburgh and 
( )rkney ; Aberdeen the Bishopric of Aberdeen ; St Andrews a 
pension of ^£1000 yearly out of its own bishopric and priory. 
The Marquis of Argyll got the Bishoprics of Lismore and the 
Isles ; Alexander Henderson the Deanery of the Chapel- 
Royal, with 4000 merks yearly. 2 "Thus," says Peterkin, 
"did leading men, cities, and universities cast lots for the 
garments which had clothed the Episcopal establishment." 

While the king was in Scotland, news reached him of the 
outbreak of the Irish rebellion, under Roger More and Sir 
Phelim O'Neale. Immediately on receiving intelligence of 
the barbarities which were being perpetrated, and of the 
jeopardy in which the country was placed, he went to the 
parliament, and urged the despatch of business, that he might 
return immediately to England. It was not, however, till the 
1 8th of November — more than a fortnight afterwards — that 
he was able to begin his journey southwards, having made so 
many concessions during his stay in Edinburgh, that he was 
said to depart " a contented king from a contented country." 

The breach between Charles and his English subjects daily 
widened. The parliament voted its famous remonstrance — 
the king impeached five of its members, and attempted to 
seize them in the House — the city was in a state of intense 
excitement — petitions poured in from all quarters — and the 
1 Balfour. Baillie, &c. - Baillie, vol. i. p. 395. 


king, to save himself from violence, removed from Whitehall 
to Hampton Court. Civil war was now inevitable. Both 
parties foresaw it, and began to prepare for it. The Commons 
passed a bill claiming the command of the militia — the only 
military force which the country possessed ; and Charles 
positively refused to give it his assent. He now removed his 
court to the city of York, where his adherents were numerous ; 
and, finally, on the 22c! of August 1642, set up the royal 
standard at Nottingham. 

fi While the country was in this feverish state — 

on the very verge of a civil war — the General 
Assembly met at St Andrews on the 27th of July 1642. The 
Earl of Dunfermline, as Royal Commissioner, presented a very 
gracious letter from his Majesty. But on this occasion there 
was also a letter from another power in England — the parlia- 
ment — not indeed claiming the fealty, but craving the friend- 
ship of the Scotch Assembly. In this document the English 
Commons deprecated the spilling of blood \ they referred to 
the work of reformation in which they were engaged ; they 
blamed the malignant Papists and the dissolute clergy as the 
authors of the conflagration which had broken out; they hoped 
and prayed for a peaceful termination of all their troubles. 

A great idea was now filling the vision of Presbyterian 
Scotland. At first it had loomed dimly in the distance \ it 
had gradually come nearer and nearer ; and now it seemed 
quite within its grasp. Scotland was ambitious of bestowing 
upon England the blessings of Presbytery. The liberal spirit 
of the great Reformers in regard to Episcopacy and Presbytery 
had passed away. Anglican bishops had claimed for Episco- 
pacy a divine right; almost every Scotch minister now believed 
Presbytery to have a divine right. They thought themselves 
bound to preach this as an article of their faith, and to propa- 
gate Presbyterianism as a part of their religion. At this period 
they verily believed that theirs was to be the proud distinction 
of bringing back prelatic England to the purity of apostolic 
times. Nor were their hopes altogether unfounded. A large 
and powerful party in England were labouring for the over- 
throw of the hierarchy. Most of the Puritans were in fact 
Presbyterians ; Independency was still in its infancy ; and the 
parliamentary leaders secured the assistance of Scotland by 
flattering its ambition. 

In the Assembly's answer to the king, they briefly alluded 
to " their desire concerning unity in religion, and uniformity 
of Church government, as a special means of conserving of 


peace between the two kingdoms ; " and in their answer to 
the parliament they argued the question at large, and fondly 
anticipated the time when, by a junction of the Churches, 
war, idolatry, and heresy should cease, and truth, peace, and 
righteousness meet and kiss one another. 1 Lord Maitland 
was authorised to go to London, and carry these answers to 
the king and the parliament ; and the Commissioners of the 
Church, already in London, were instructed to labour for the 
attainment of the same devoutly desired consummation. A 
letter from some ministers in England, who had embraced 
Presbyterian principles, was answered in the same strain ; and 
now the common cry was, for one catechism, one confession, 
one directory for worship, and one form of Church govern- 
ment on both sides of the Tweed. 

Previous to this time the Assembly had been accustomed to 
appoint a commission to manage its business in the intervals 
of its meetings. Pleading this as a precedent, it now nomin- 
ated a powerful committee, including a long list of the highest 
nobles and most distinguished ministers, with very plenary 
power to help on the good work the Church had taken in 
hand ; to confer with the king and parliament ; and, if neces- 
sary, to prepare the talked-of catechism, confession, directory, 
and form of government. 2 

Since 1638 the Assembly had assumed the power of remov- 
ing ministers from place to place, without much reference 
either to the wishes of the ministers themselves, or the rights 
of the patrons. A congregation petitioned them for some 
favourite minister; their petition was discussed; the objec- 
tions of any who opposed the translation listened to ; the 
good of the Church at large taken into account ; and a deci- 
sion given. Business of this kind had occupied a considerable 
portion of the Assembly's time for the last four years. An 
act was now passed laying down some rules for the translation 
of ministers, and the whole subject of patronage was discussed. 
The king had proposed, that in the case of all vacant parishes 
of which the crown hekTthe patronage, the presbytery should 
transmit him a leet of six candidates, out of which he should 
select one for the cure ; but the Assembly complained that 
this was more than was to be expected of them, when it was 
difficult to find one good minister, not to say six. Argyll 
made an offer for himself and the noblemen who were present, 
to resign to the presbytery and people the liberty of choosing 
their ministers, if the Assembly would undertake to bind all 
1 Peterkin's Records, pp. 320-33. - Ibid. 


such entrants never to seek for an augmentation of their 
stipends. The offer was unworthy of the great Argyll, and 
seems to prove that with all his love for Presbytery he would 
willingly see presbyters in a state verging upon pauperism. 
He had pocketed the episcopal revenues of Lismore and the 
Isles ; could he spare nothing out of this Church plunder for 
the poor Churchmen whose great patron he was ? The As- 
sembly wisely declined the offer, properly repudiating popular 
election if it was to be combined with beggary. The Earl of 
Lauderdale spoke strongly against popular elections in any 
circumstances ; and so the subject was dropped without any- 
thing being decided. 1 

The letters of the Assembly were promptly answered both 
by the king and the parliament. The king declared his de- 
termination to reform all abuses in the Church of England ; 
his wish to see unity of religion in the island ; but warned the 
Assembly that those who made the fairest pretensions to them, 
would no more embrace Presbytery than they would Episco- 
pacy. 2 The parliament professed their desire to see one 
Confession of Faith, and one form of Church government in 
all his Majesty's dominions, and declared that they had found 
the hierarchy a burden too heavy to be longer borne. 3 Within 
a week afterwards, the parliament, to show that it was in 
earnest, passed " an act for the utter abolishing and taking 
away of all archbishops, bishops, their chancellors, and com- 
missaries ; " but it was remarked that, while they threw down 
one form of Church polity, they did not set up another in its 
stead. The Covenanters did not observe this, for they never 
dreamt that anything could be preferred to Presbytery. All 
the sympathies of the Scotch nation were now with the Eng- 
lish Puritans and the English parliament. No doubt the king 
had granted them all that they desired, but they knew it was 
sore against his will, and dreaded that what was given in his 
time of weakness might be reclaimed in his time of strength. 
The king was despotic and prelatic — the parliament was 
puritanic and democratic ; they were like the negative and 
positive poles of the battery ; the Covenanters were repulsed 
from the one, and attracted to the other. 

But this feeling was not universal. Many had still some 
remains of loyalty, which nothing could eradicate ; many 
contemplated with horror the shedding of civic blood. The 
parliament of 1641, before dissolving, had appointed a large 

1 Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 47, 48. Feterkin's Records. 
-Burnet's Memoirs, p. 197. 3 Teterkin's Records. 


committee to act as conservators of the Treaty of Peace with 
England, and had in fact invested it with the power of the 
king and his estates. This body met in September, and, 
under the influence of Hamilton, a communication was made 
to Charles, requesting that the queen, who had gone to 
Holland, should return and act as a mediator, and pledging 
themselves, if this should fail, to support the throne. Among 
the names attached to this declaration is that of Alexander 
Henderson. 1 Since the king's visit to Scotland, it had been 
remarked that his zeal had decayed, and bitter things were 
beginning to be said of him. 2 The truth is, he had more 
moderation of sentiment, as he had infinitely more solidity of 
judgment, than most of the men with whom he acted. 

Meanwhile the battle of Edgehill was fought with inde- 
cisive success ; but, upon the whole, the operations of the 
king during the campaign, before the winter set in, had 
given him some advantage over his faithful Commons. This 
made the parliament more than ever desirous to secure the 
assistance of the Scotch. They despatched an agent to 
Edinburgh, and sent after him a declaration to the people of 
Scotland, which was met by a counter-declaration from the 
king. On the 20th of December the Privy Council met, and 
the two declarations were produced. The Marquis of 
Hamilton moved that they should publish the king's declara- 
tion. Lord Balmerino remarked, that if they published the 
one, they should publish the other. " Do you propose that," 
said the Marquis, " because we owe the same obedience to 
the parliament as to the king ? " The Earl of Lanark, who 
had produced the king's declaration, here interposed, and 
said that he had his Majesty's commands for its publication. 
%; We sit here for no good purpose," retorted Argyll, " if 
every message is to be regarded as a command ;" " and they 
two," says Burnet, " let fly at one another for a while with 
much eagerness." It appears that all shades of opinion were 
to be found in the Council ; some were for publishing both 
declarations, some neither ; one man was for publishing the 
parliament's, and not the king s ; but it was finally carried 
by a majority that the king's should be published, and not 
the parliament's. For some time before this, the Marquis of 
Hamilton and the Marquis of Argyll had been on friendly 
terms with one another ; but now a complete rupture took 
place. Hamilton adhered to royalty, and Argyll gave the 

1 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 201. 

- Baillie ; who properly defends his friend. 


weight of his great name to the democratic opinions which 
were current in the Kirk. 1 

The decision of the Council was odious to the country ; 
and the Conservators of Peace attempted to disguise its 
nauseousness by declaring that to publish a document was 
not to approve of it, and by resolving to publish the parlia- 
mentary declaration too. 2 The Marquis of Hamilton and 
the Earl of Traquair now endeavoured to unite parties by a 
petition to the Council, expressed in very general and 
guarded terms, in which they simply begged their lordships 
not to pledge themselves to anything which might put the 
peace of the Church and the kingdom in jeopardy, and to 
bear in mind that, while they rendered to God the things 
which were God's, they should also render to Caesar the 
things which were Caesar's. This was known at the time as 
the Cross Petition ; it was signed by many noblemen and 
gentlemen • " but the preachers," says Burnet, " threatened 
damnation to all the authors and subscribers of it, and detest- 
able neutrality became the head on which they spent their 
eloquence.'' 3 

6 The Council gave no direct answer to this 

petition, but appointed commissioners to proceed 
to England, and offer to act as umpires between the king and 
his commons. These were joined by commissioners from 
the Church, who were instructed to beg the king to abolish 
Episcopacy, establish Presbytery, and call a meeting of the 
Scottish parliament. In February 1643, tnev na( i repeated 
audiences of the king at York ; but his Majesty declined their 
mediation, refused to accede to their requests, and denied them 
liberty to proceed to London. 4 

As the tide of feeling rose higher, it was resolved to call a 
convention of the Estates. The king at first refused it his con- 
sent, and even so keen a Covenanter as Sir Thomas Hope 
argued against it ; but the convention, nevertheless, met, and 
Charles, under the pressure of necessity, agreed to give it his 
royal sanction, provided it kept within certain prescribed 
limits. The convention, however, declared itself free to trans- 
act what business it pleased independent of the king : — the 
government, in fact, was republican. The country had been 
prepared for the meeting of the convention by a solemn fast, 
in which the pulpits did the work which is done in our day by 
partisan and political newspapers. When business was begun, 

1 Burnet's Memoirs, pp. 204, 205. 2 Ibid. p. 206. 

3 Ibid. pp. 206-9. 4 Ibid. pp. 213-16. 


a remonstrance was read from the commission of the General 
Assembly, setting forth the dangers to which religion was 
exposed, and praying the convention to look upon the cause 
of their brethren in England as their own. The convention 
thanked the commission, and took the hint ; but as the 
country was scarcely yet prepared for the idea of an armed 
intervention, they simply resolved to raise levies under the 
pretext of repressing some moss-troopers on the borders. 1 

But the General Assembly, at this period, was really the 
governing body of Scotland, and it met on the 2d of August. 
Sir Thomas Hope, the Lord Advocate, produced a commis- 
sion to appear for his Majesty, and is the only instance of a 
commoner holding this high post. A few days after the meet- 
ing began its sittings, a deputation from the parliament of 
England landed at Leith, and were introduced to the Assembly. 
The ministers had been exhorted beforehand to be more than 
usually grave in the presence of the puritanic strangers from 
the south ; and the Moderator exercised his authority with 
greater than ordinary severity. 2 The deputation represented 
to the House that they acknowledged with thankfulness the 
zeal of the Scotch Church in extirpating every relic of Popery ; 
that they were anxious to have the same good work perfected 
among themselves, and had begun it by removing the High 
Commission, ejecting the bishops from the House of Peers, 
abolishing Episcopacy, and calling an Assembly of Divines to 
meet at Westminster; and that now, in the time of their 
danger and distress, they were anxious, not only for the 
prayers of their brethren in Scotland, but for such other 
assistance as they could give. These representations were 
backed by a letter from some of the Puritan clergy, and 
another from the xVssembly of Divines, which had already 
begun its sittings, both couched in the unctuous phraseology 
of the time. 3 

The proposals of the English were keenly canvassed in 
committee. Some thought that Scotland might still act as a 
mediator, but this was repudiated as hopeless and vain. The 
parliamentary commissioners were anxious for a civil league, 
but the Assembly would hear of nothing but a religious Cove- 
nant. What was liberty to them without religion ? What was 
religion without Presbytery ? Was not the establishment of 
their favourite polity in England the burden of all their prayers 

1 Guthrie's Memoirs, p. 114. Burnet, p. 233. 

2 Baillie, vol. ii. p. 88. 

3 See Peterkin's Records. 


— the end of all their toils ; for what else did they meddle 
with such matters ; and now would they descend from their 
high position ? Henderson produced a draft of a proposed 
League and Covenant. The commissioners suggested that 
room should be left for the toleration of Independency ; but 
the Assembly would not hear of this — there must be Presby- 
tery, and Presbytery only, over all the land. Finally, the 
Solemn League and Covenant, as we now have it, was brought 
before the Assembly, prefaced by a speech by Henderson, and 
every man gave it his assent. The Convention of Estates was 
still sitting, and on that very afternoon they also gave it their 
concurrence. 1 

The subscribers to this Covenant bound themselves to 
labour for the preservation of the Reformed religion in Scot- 
land, and for the reformation of religion in the kingdoms of 
England and Ireland in doctrine, worship, discipline, and 
government, according to the Word of God, and the example 
of the best Reformed Churches ; to endeavour the extirpation 
of Popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, and schism ; to defend 
the privileges of the parliament, and the person and authority 
of the king • and reveal all malignants and incendiaries who 
should obstruct their purposes. It was afterwards noted that 
England was not expressly pledged to Presbytery by this 
Covenant, and said that the Scotch ministers had been out- 
witted by the English diplomatists ; but it is probable that there 
was perfect good faith on both sides at the time. The 
enthusiastic Covenanters never doubted but that if the Church 
of England was reformed according to the Word of God, it 
must be made Presbyterian, and they fondly dreamt that the 
great work for which it was worth to have lived, and even to 
have died, was now accomplished. 

The Solemn League and Covenant was carried to England, 
and the 22nd of September was appointed for subscribing it. 
On that day both Houses of Parliament, the Assembly of 
Divines, and the Scotch Commissioners, assembled at St 
Margaret's Church, at Westminster. The business on hand 
was opened with prayer. Nye and Henderson explained the 
benefit the Church and the kingdom would derive from such 
a holy alliance. The Covenant was then read from the 
pulpit, article by article, and while this was being done, every 
person stood up, and with his right hand raised to heaven, 
worshipped God, and entered into Covenant with Him. The 
Commons then went up to the chancel and subscribed their 
1 Baillie's Letters, &c., vol ii. p. 91. 


names to one parchment copy, while the Assembly put their 
signatures to another. 1 It was afterwards subscribed in every 
county of England ; and the Committee of Estates in Scotland 
more than emulated the zeal which had been displayed in the 
south, by ordering subscription on the pain of the confiscation 
of goods. With beggary before them, very few refused their 

As the result of the Covenant thus concocted by the Church, 
and solemnly sworn in the presence of heaven, the Scotch 
army, mustering twenty-one thousand men, under the com- 
mand of Leslie, now Earl of Leven, crossed the Tweed at 
Berwick, and entered England, to seek for conformity of re- 
ligion amid the horrors of civic warfare. 


The government of Scotland at this period approximated 
very closely to a theocracy. The power of the king was 
gone ; the power of the parliament was in abeyance ; the 
General Assembly was the governing body, and its ministers 
and elders constantly declared that they had derived their 
legislative authority from Jesus Christ, the King and Head of 
His Church. Never since the Jewish theocracy was dissolved 
had such a spectacle been seen. The Old Testament epoch 
seemed to have been revived in our country. Every act 
assumed to itself a religious character; even the wars were 
religious wars, and this was proved by the fact, that in the 
Old Testament the wars of God's people were called the wars 
of the Lord. 2 These ideas, were associated with something 
of the old Hebrew exclusiveness. The men of those days 
regarded their nation as the chosen nation ; their Church as 
the Church : the world, as of yore, was divided into Jews and 

Religion was dominant in the national mind ; but it was 
not that broad, loving religion which we see reflected in the 
gospel of Jesus. It was narrow in its notions, and somewhat 
bitter in its spirit. It hated Popery and Prelacy with an 
equal hatred, and was not always able to separate between 
Popery and the Papist, between Prelacy and the Prelatist, so 
as charitably to love the one, while it piously detested the 

1 Xeal's History of the Puritans, vol. i. 
- Acts of the General Assembly, 1648. 


other. The false believer and his false faith were regarded 
with the same feelings, and visited with the same condemna- 
tion. The common idea seems to have been that there could 
be no religion beyond the pale of Presbytery. Had not the 
apostles founded a Presbyterian Church when they founded 
the Christian Church? Could not Presbytery claim a jus 
divinum ? Was not its polity right, and all others wrong ? 
Was not Prelacy but a rag of Popery ; and was not the Pope 
Antichrist? Were the Sacraments properly administered, 
were souls likely to be saved, in a Church which had no 
Scripture warrant for its constitution and government ? The 
Covenant helped to make notions narrow already narrower 
still. In order to be a good Christian, it was necessary not 
merely to be a Presbyterian, but to be a Covenanter; and 
there is reason to dread, that among the vulgar, many must 
have imagined that swearing to this Covenant was to be 
included in that other and better covenant which is ordered 
in all things and sure. 1 

But the Presbyterians had an honest desire to extend 
to others the blessings they themselves enjoyed. They were 
zealous for the conversion of England. The General Assem- 
bly had actually signed a League with puritanic England, 
which tacitly implied that an army was to be marched across 
the border to assist in overturning Episcopacy and building 
up Presbytery. The martial and the religious spirit combined 
as they did during the period of the Crusades. Then Pales- 
tine was to be rescued from the Moslem ; now, England was 
to be rescued from the bishops. In the one case, as the 
other, religious enthusiasm was superadded to natural courage, 
and armies marched to battle believing themselves doing the 
work of Heaven. But Christianity always appears to dis- 
advantage when wielding the carnal weapon ; and ecclesiasti- 
cal councils hardly appear to be discharging their proper 
functions when arming nations and churches against one 
another. 2 But such was the temper of the time, that there 

1 See Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 269, and note by the Editor, Dr 
Robert Burns. 

2 The high pretensions of the Church at this period are seen from the 
General Assembly's answer to the Paper sent from the Honourable Com- 
mittee of Estates, of the date July 28, 1648. Among other things they 
say, "As to their Lordships' other desire of our demonstrating from the 
Word of God that the Kirk hath interest in the undertakings and engage- 
ments in war, and what that interest is, we had thought that point to be 
without controversy in this kingdom, not only in respect of Kirk and State, 
their joining and co-operating (each in their proper sphere) in the former 
expeditions of this kingdom into England, but also because the very confer- 


would have been no war unless it had been invested with a 
religious character ; and the parliament would not have acted 
apart from the General Assembly. The soldiers of Cromwell's 
army got drunk in taverns with religious sign-boards suspended 
at the door ; the Scottish nation got drunk with blood under 
banners inscribed with Christ's Crown and Covenant. 

Presbytery had not yet learned toleration. It had no idea 
of dividing with other forms of faith the empire of the land. 
It must be sole and supreme. Its voice now was different 
from what it had been when fighting its sore battle against 
Popery and Prelacy. It had conquered in the strife, and, 
like other conquerors, it would brook no rival. Every man 
in Scotland must be a Presbyterian and a Covenanter. 1 

If any man, however great or good, refused to sign the 
Covenant, he was at once deprived of his living, and even 
driven from his home without mercy or remorse. Among 
others, Dr John Forbes of Corse, Professor of Divinity in 
King's College, Aberdeen, and author of Irenicum, Theologia 
Moralis, and other learned works which have gained the praise 
of Rivetus, Vossius, and Dollinger, was compelled to flee the 
country in 1644, because he could not in his heart bring him- 
self to sign the Covenant. He protested that he was sound 
in regard to the Popish, Arminian, and Socinian controversies, 
but that was not enough. " Surely," says Spalding, "this was 
ane excellent, religious man, who fearit God, charitable to the 
poor, and ane singular scholar; yet he was put fra his calling, 
his country and his friends, and all for not subscryving our 
Covenant, to the grudge and grief of the best." He went to 
Holland " to remain in thir dolorous days." 2 Thus one of 
the lights of the age was put out. Others received still harsher 

ences which have been between committees of Kirk and State, concerning 
the undertaking and engagement, doth plainly suppose an interest of the 
Kirk in such affairs." (Peterkin's Records, pp. 505, 506). 

1 In every document of the time we have instances of the persecuting 
spirit of the Covenanters. The following are taken from John Nicholl's 
Diary : — " At this tyme, also, my Lord Linton wes excommunicate and 
wardit (imprisoned) for taking in marriage the Lord Seytoune's relict, 
dochter to the late Marques of Huntlie, scho being excommunicate for 
Poprie." "At this tyme, and sundry yeiris befoir, many persones were 
trublit for not subscryving the Covenant, and ministeris deposit for the 
same. Mr Gawin Stewart, minister of Dalmellingtoun, not onlie deposit 
fra his ministrie, bot he debarrit ab agendo in all his actiones and causis 
civill for recovery of his dettis. Lykewayis James Macaulay, goldsmith, 
wes not only excommunicate for refusing to subscryve the Covenant, bot 
lykewayis at his death, his corps dischargit to be bureyit in the church- 

2 Spalding's Troubles, vol. ii. p. 190. 


treatment, being excommunicated while living, and refused 
burial in the churchyard when dead. 

But however much we may reprobate these fanatical mea- 
sures, it is amazing how much unanimity was produced by 
the pressure of penal laws ; how quickly Popery had dis- 
appeared ; how quickly Episcopacy was disappearing ; and 
how entirely the land was Presbyterian. Not content with 
the universality of its dominion in Scotland, it aspired to the 
same universality of dominion in England. It would not do 
to say that some Englishmen conscientiously preferred Epis- 
copacy, and others Independency : were not Episcopacy and 
Independency forms of error, and must not every error be de- 
stroyed ? If Presbytery had prevailed, it is not likely that 
freedom of religious opinion would even yet have been known. 
But the little stone was already hewn out of the mountain 
which was to break in pieces the huge image of iron and of 
clay. Oliver Cromwell was soon to preach toleration with a 
drawn sword in his hand. 

The Church of Scotland had always been Calvinistic. 
John Knox had been a scholar of Calvin, and stereotyped, 
in the confession which he presented to the Scotch parlia- 
ment, the lessons he had learned at Geneva. But now 
Calvinism became more than ever a vital article in the 
creed. Many of the Episcopal clergy, following in the wake 
of Laud, had professed themselves x\rminians, and the stern 
Presbyterians were strongly repelled from everything that was 
associated with Episcopacy. They cast out every man who 
was charged with having uttered an Arminian sentiment, and 
made an uncompromising Calvinism the badge of their party. 
But besides this, Calvinism is native to the Scottish mind. 
The land which has produced so many metaphysicians could 
scarcely content itself with the plausible but unphilosophic 
system of Arminius. Calvinism appeals to the pure intellect, 
though in some of its tenets it may offend the feelings. Armi- 
nianism appeals to the feelings, and to gratify them, in many 
of its principles it violates reason. The Scotch cast of intellect 
led it to adopt the former, recognising it as the apotheosis of 
order and law. 

Scottish piety is, and ever has been, in many respects pecu- 
liar, and this peculiarity has arisen partly from the character of 
the Scottish mind, and partly from the history of the Scottish 
Church. It is intellectual rather than devotional. In this we 
see the Scottish mind. It pours contempt upon all outward 
forms, and this is probably to be traced to its struggles with 

A.D. 1643.] WITCHES. 49 

Episcopacy. Some of these characters were at this very period 
written upon the Scottish heart, and burned deeply into it by 
the persecutions which followed. 

Under the excitement of the period, superstition and fana- 
ticism increased. The persecution of unhappy old women 
charged with witchcraft had greatly abated ; but it was now 
revived. Stringent acts of Assembly were passed against 
charming and sorcery ; and we read with horror that, in Fife 
alone, and in the course of a few months, upwards of thirty 
persons charged with witchcraft were burned to death. The 
Assembly testified their astonishment and regret at the extra- 
ordinary increase of witches, not knowing that it was the 
increase of superstition which saw witches where no witches 
were. A new crusade was also begun against the architectural 
and artistic remains of the Papal Church, which were ordered 
to be destroyed as the monuments of idolatry; and pity it was 
so; but still we have no tears to waste upon the destruction of 
altars and altar-screens, when we think of the temple of the 
human body thus cruelly burned. 1 

, Presbytery was now required to hold its own 

J " in the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. 
This celebrated Assembly was called together by an ordinance 
of the English parliament, under the pressure of the Scotch 
demand for uniformity ; and though prohibited by a royal pro- 
clamation, it met on the ist of July 1643. It consisted of a 
hundred and twenty-one divines and thirty lay assessors ; and, 
a few months after its first meeting, it was joined by six com- 
missioners from the Church of Scotland, who were welcomed 
by the proloquitor in a set harangue, and afterwards took an 
important part in the debates. The Scotch commissioners 
were Alexander Henderson, Robert Baillie, Samuel Ruther- 
ford, and George Gillespie, ministers ; and Lord Maitland and 
Sir Archibald Johnstone, elders.- 

We have already seen Alexander Henderson recognised as 
the leader of the Scotch Church, and as deserving his proud 
position by his great abilities, and a moderation of sentiment 
unknown to many of those with whom he associated. His 
spare form, thoughtful face, and small peaked beard, gave him 

1 Peterkin's Records, p. 279. Baillie, vol. ii. p. 88. The Assembly 
of 1643 gives specific directions as to how witches are to be dealt with. 
See Peterkin, p. 354. 

2 Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. ii. The Earl of Cassillis and Mi- 
George Douglas were also nominated by the Assembly as commissioners, 
but they do not appear to have gone to London. See Peterkin, p. 359. 



the appearance of a man devoted to study, fasting, and prayer. 
Robert Baillie had recently been brought from the parish of 
Kilwinning, to be Professor of Divinity in the University of 
Glasgow. He was an able linguist, and a lover of books ; and, 
like most such men, fonder of penning his thoughts quietly in 
his study, than of uttering them amid the excitement of debate. 
Always amiable though somewhat changeful in his moods, he 
generally meant well, but he never had sufficient energy of 
character to think and act for himself, and accordingly he 
floated like a piece of drift-wood with the stream. His 
" Letters and Journals " furnish us with some pictures, as life- 
like as photographs, of the principal actors then on the stage 
of affairs, and not unfrequently give us a peep of what was 
passing behind the scenes. It is the book of all to be read by 
those who would understand the period of the Covenant. 
Samuel Rutherford had many of the attributes of an eloquent 
man, and his letters, purged of indecencies, are yet read by 
many with delight. His style often seems an echo of the Old 
Testament prophets : sometimes he emulates the lofty senti- 
ments of Isaiah, and sometimes he pours out his feelings in 
the dulcet strains of the Song of Solomon : but in many cases 
the wax of his wings appears to melt, from his ascending too 
near to the sun, and he comes rapidly down into the mire. 
Unfortunately, he appears to have thought that obscenity was 
no longer obscene when clothed in religious drapery, and 
hence we frequently meet in his writings with expressions which 
the coarseness of the times does not altogether excuse. It was 
the age of Howe, Baxter, and Milton. His " Lex Rex," pub- 
lished about this time, is in many respects an able and 
scholarly treatise on constitutional law ; but he appears to go 
beyond Buchanan in his ideas of liberty, and to approach in- 
definitely near to republicanism. George Gillespie had 
already distinguished himself by a book against the Anglican 
ceremonies, and is confessed to have acted no mean part in the 
discussions at Westminster. His " Aaron's Rod Blossoming " 
shows that he had carefully studied the subject of debate ; but 
his subsequent history proves that he was a man of a violent 
temper and extreme views. Sir Archibald Johnstone was a 
thorough lawyer and a keen partisan : he was not merely 
Presbyterian, but democratic ; and consequently strongly dis- 
liked by the king. His nephew, Bishop Burnet, tells us 
" he would often pray in his family two hours at a time, and 
had an unexhausted copiousness that way." Lord Maitland 
was at this time a high-flying Covenanter ; but we shall after- 


wards hear of him in a different character and under a different 
title — the Duke of Lauderdale. 

The Assembly at first met in Henry VII. 's Chapel ; but, as 
winter approached, and the days got cold, they adjourned to 
the Jerusalem Chamber, where they had a comfortable fire, 
around which the lords of the parliament were accustomed to 
cluster, and listen to the theological debates. 1 About sixty 
was the average daily attendance. Three hostile parties soon 
began to hoist their colours — the Erastians, the Independents, 
and the Presbyterians. The Erastians were weak in the 
Assembly, but strong in the parliament ; and their weakness 
in the Assembly was in some measure redeemed by the great 
names of Lightfoot, Coleman, Seldon, Whitelock, and St John. 
The Independents did not count more than ten or twelve divines, 
but they were mostly men of piety and learning, enthusiastically 
attached to their opinions, loud in their praises of universal toler- 
ation, and already beginning to acquire an ascendancy in the 
army. Their principal oracles were Goodwin, Nye, Burroughs, 
and Bridge. The Presbyterians formed the great majority of 
the Assembly, as at this period they probably formed a majority 
of the nation. The Episcopalians, deterred by the proclama- 
tion of the king, sent no divine to speak a word for the fallen 
Church, and not a voice was lifted in its praise. 

The Assembly had at first directed its attention to the 
Thirty-nine Articles, and had proceeded so far as the six- 
teenth, when they were diverted from such doctrinal dis- 
cussions by an order from the parliament, requesting them 
to turn their attention to Church government and worship. 
Discussion now ran high regarding the office-bearers of the 
Church — apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, bishops, 
elders, deacons, widows. The ruling elder of the Church of 
Scotland was strenuously opposed, but finally allowed. The 
subject of ordination excited still more vehement debates ; and 
when Church Courts were introduced, and the Scotch com- 
missioners expounded their fourfold gradation — the congre- 
gational, classical, provincial, and national, citing Scripture 
for each — all the three parties were brought into violent colli- 
sion. The Independents fought hard, and managed to pro- 
tract the debates, under the impression that their cause was a 
growing one. The Assembly was not yet prepared to give a 
constitution to the Church : but by the month of November 
1644, it had prepared its " Directory for the Public Worship 
of God," to which the parliament gave its sanction. 2 

1 Baillie, vol. ii. p. 108. 

2 I have drawn this description of the Westminster Assembly from 


In the preface to the " Directory/' it is candidly confessed 
that the " Book of Common Prayer" had been of eminent 
utility in the period following the Reformation, and that it 
had become offensive only by its being urged imperiously upon 
all. But the Church, it was said, was now ripe for a further 
reformation. In the " Directory" itself no forms of prayer were 
prescribed ; but what ought to be the burden of each prayer was 
largely expressed. Baptism was to be administered without 
any ceremony, save the sprinkling with water in the name of 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The sacrament of 
the Supper was to be celebrated frequently. The communi- 
cants were to take their place at the table ; the word of in- 
stitution was to be read; the bread and wine were to be 
blessed, and severally distributed, the minister himself par- 
taking while he dispensed to the people. Marriage was to be 
celebrated, after the proclamation of banns, publicly in the 
churches, but not en the Sabbath day. The dead were to be 
buried without any ceremonies ; there were to be no prayers, 
no chanting of hymns ; but the minister might seize upon the 
occasion to put the living in mind of their latter end. 1 

The " Directory " was carried down to Scotland by Baillie 
and Gillespie, and laid before a General Assembly which had 
met at Edinburgh, in the beginning of 1645. On the 3d of 
February it was solemnly sanctioned, and ordered to be 
observed by all ministers in the kingdom ; and from that 
day to this it has remained the directory for worship in the 
Scottish Church, though it is now in most points practically 
obsolete. It was shortly afterwards ratified by the parliament. 
Neither the Act of Parliament nor the Act of Assembly refers 
to the " Book of Common Order," which had hitherto been 
the authorized form of worship, but it seems to have been 
implied that the " Westminster Directory" was to supersede 
the Geneva liturgy. 

At the time when this General Assembly was sitting, Mon- 
trose was filling the land with the terror of his arms. For long 
his Covenanting zeal was known to have abated. During the 
campaign of 1640, he was discovered holding a secret corre- 
spondence with Charles : he had afterwards signed a private 
bond with some of his friends, for which he was denounced as 
a " plotter," and brought to trial: he finally put his services 
and his sword at the disposal of the king. He declared that 

Baillie's Letters, vol. ii., and from Neal's History, vol. ii. Its Minutes 
have now been published, but they are very disappointing. 
1 See the Directory for the Public Worship of God. 



he was still a Covenanter, but would never be a traitor ; and it 
is easy to understand how a man might approve of the early 
proceedings of the Presbyterians, and reprobate their subse- 
quent ones. 1 We need not charge him w r ith inconsistency, or 
with being an apostate and deserter. It is probable, however, 
that his jealousy of Argyll, who had early obtained an ascend- 
ency in the councils of the Covenanters, decided his choice. 
They had long ago been rivals. It had been said of them that 
they were like Caesar and Pompey : the one could not bear an 
equal, and the other w r ould have no superior. 2 Yet they were 
very different men. Argyll w T as of small stature, red haired, not 
very well favoured, and so constitutionally nervous, that his 
conduct in the field subjected him to the imputation of coward- 
ice ; but withal he was far-seeing, politic, and indefatigable in 
pursuing his ends. Montrose, on the other hand, was a rather 
tail, and very handsome man. His manner was stately and 
somewhat theatrical. He was impulsive, perhaps impetuous, 
and liked to do things in a dashing way ; but he was regarded 
as deficient in judgment, and his opinion had hitherto carried 
very little weight. 

Armed with a commission from the king, Montrose unfurled 
the royal standard on the banks of the Gary. His whole army 
at first consisted of about a thousand Irish, who had landed 
under Alister Macdonald ; but soon hundreds of Celts from 
the hills of Athol and Badenoch gathered around him. With 
this strange array of wild Irishmen, and wilder caterans, he 
swept down from the mountains ; defeated Lord Elcho at 
Tippermuir ; entered the city of Perth ; proceeded northwards 
along the coast; forced Lord Burleigh from the field, and 
carried Aberdeen by storm. Argyll was at this time the leader 
of the Covenanting armies in the north. He followed in the 
track of his conquering antagonist, but was either unable or 
unwilling to come up with him. At last they did meet at 
Fyvie, w r here Montrose was again victorious. When winter 
began to set in, the marquis retired to his castle of Inverary, 
where he thought himself secure amid the fastnesses of his 
native mountains. But in the depth of December, with the 
ground covered with snow, Montrose descended from Athol 
upon Loch Tay, pursued his desolating career along its banks, 
crossed mountains, and penetrated glens where the eagle and 
the deer were alone to be seen, and, to the horror of Macallum 

1 Napier's Life and Times of Montrose, pp. 1 1 1-58. Balfour's Annals, 
yol. iii. 
- Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. 


More, appeared on the hills overlooking his stronghold on the 
shores of Loch Fyne. Argyll escaped in a fishing-boat, leav- 
ing his clan to the tender mercies of his most deadly enemy. 
Inverary was burned, and the whole country converted into a 
wilderness. Having scoured every glen, and seen the smoke 
ascending from the hamlets he had given to the flames, Mon- 
trose began his march toward Inverness ; but while he was yet 
on his way, he heard that Argyll was again at the head of his 
sept, strengthened by some Lowland troops. Instantly wheel- 
ing about, he struggled along mountain-passes, and through 
drifting snow, till after a weary march he came upon the 
Covenanted host at Inverlochy, at the western extremity of 
the chain of lochs now connected by the Caledonian CanaL 
Argyll, before the battle began, put off from the shore in a boat r 
and from the loch beheld his banners borne down ; and fifteen 
hundred of his followers laid dead upon the field. 1 

The parliament and General Assembly were 
4 ^' sitting when this battle was fought. Baillie and 
Urry were recalled from England to cope with this invincible 
warrior in the north. But still the star of Montrose was in the 
ascendant. He stormed and plundered Dundee; he defeated 
General Urry, first at Auldearn, and afterwards at Alford; and 
gathering adherents from the fame of his victories, he marched 
into the Lowlands, crossed the Forth some miles above Stirling, 
and, taking a westerly direction, arrived at Kilsyth, where he 
was confronted by Baillie and Argyll with an army eight thou- 
sand strong. Battle was joined; and once more the Cove- 
nanters were swept away by the wild rush of the Royalists. 
Five thousand of them are said to have perished on the field 
or in the flight. After the battle, Montrose marched toward 
Glasgow, which he entered in triumph; and all Scotland might 
be said to lie at his feet. The Covenanters were in dismay, 
and begged their favourite hero, old Leslie, to return to their 

Montrose now proceeded toward the south, with the view of 
rousing the Border chivalry, and perhaps effecting a junction 
with the king, whose fortunes in England were well-nigh 
desperate. About the same time Leslie crossed the Tweed 
with a large detachment, chiefly of cavalry, and marched toward 
Edinburgh, to save his friends. On reaching Musselburgh, he 
suddenly faced about, and on the 12th of September took up 
his quarters at Melrose. The army of Montrose, now greatly 

1 Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Balfour. Baillie. Burnet* 


diminished in numbers, was lying the same night at Philip- 
haugh, on the left bank of the Ettrick, and not more than a 
mile from the town of Selkirk. That night Montrose spent in 
the town, little dreaming that Leslie was within a few miles of 
him. Early on the morning of the 13th, Leslie was in motion, 
and, favoured by a thick mist, was close upon the Royalists 
before his approach was perceived. Montrose flung himself 
upon a horse, and, crossing the river, was soon in the midst 
of his men ; but the fatal effects of a surprise were apparent. 
All was in confusion. The valley of the Ettrick, widening at 
this point, afforded a large level space for cavalry to act; and 
Leslie's brigades soon dashed in full career against the half- 
formed battalions of Montrose. The struggle did not last 
long; and the gallant leader of the now vanquished Celts, 
after making a hopeless struggle to redeem the day at the head 
of his horse, cut his way through the enemy, and retreated up 
the banks of the Yarrow, attended by not more than thirty 

A body of Montrose's infantry had taken shelter within an 
enclosure, and there gallantly defended themselves for some 
time ; but at length laid down their arms, on the promise that 
their lives would be spared. The preachers who accompanied 
the Covenanting army cried out against this, and insisted, 
from Old Testament precedents, that they should be put to 
the sword. Leslie stained his laurels by yielding to their 
clamours. The helpless wretches were marched out to the 
open plain, and mercilessly shot down. Sir Robert Spottis- 
wood, the late President of the Court of Session, and several 
others of noble and gentle birth, were taken prisoners, and 
shortly afterwards hanged, for no other crime than their 
loyalty. 1 These barbarities were remembered afterwards, when 
the tide of fortune was turned. 

We must now wander southwards, and see what is passing 
in England, as the Church of Scotland was extending her 
agencies beyond the Tweed. The Earl of Strafford had long 
ago been brought to the block, not for any crime known to 
the law, but because he was esteemed by the parliament too 
dangerous a man to be allowed to live. Archbishop Laud, 
after lying for three years in the Tower, was now led out to 
the same fate. Many thought it a pity that the blood of the 

1 Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Among the Wigton Papers is 
one in which Sir Robert Spottiswood pleads hard for his life. As he knew 
that Hebrew precedents were likely to be quoted against him, he enters 
into an argument to show that such cases were not applicable. 


old man should be spilt because he had believed in the five 
points of Arminius, and loved the splendid ritual of the Church 
of Rome ; but the Covenanters regarded him as the troubler 
of their Zion, and the Puritans remembered how he had per- 
secuted their sect, and had no pity on his grey hairs. Cavaliers 
and Roundheads were butchering one another ; and England 
was experiencing the miseries of that warfare for success in 
which the Latin generals could have no chaplet and no triumph. 
The Scotch army had taken part in the fierce struggle of 
Marston Moor ; had assisted in the reduction of York ; and 
then, marching northwards, had entered Newcastle by storm. 
This done, the Covenanted warriors seemed disposed to rest 
upon the laurels they had won. 

In the beginning of 1645, commissioners from the king 
met commissioners from the parliament at Uxbridge, to try 
if it were possible to arrange a peace. As religion presented 
one of the principal difficulties, the plenipotentiaries were 
accompanied by preachers ; and Alexander Henderson repre- 
sented the Scotch. The competing claims of Episcopacy and 
Presbytery to a divine right were debated till the nobles were 
heartily tired ; and the Marquis of Hertford put an end to the 
squabble by remarking, that both claimed what he believed 
neither possessed. The negotiations ended in nothing. The 
king was asked to abolish Episcopacy, to establish Presbytery, 
and not only to take the Solemn League and Covenant himself, 
but to compel others to take it too. This was too much for 
him. 1 

The cause of Presbytery had been making rapid progress 
among the English clergy. London contained a hundred 
and twenty-one ministers, and all these were Presbyterians 
but two. 2 The organs had been silenced, the altars removed, 
the Prayer Book laid on the shelf, and schemes for the erec- 
tion of presbyteries and synods were already in agitation. 8 
This rapid conversion of the nation was due as much to the 
presence of the Scotch army as of the Scotch ministers ; and 
it is amusing to find Baillie, when vexed in spirit by the Inde- 
pendents, writing home to his friends that the best way to 
remedy such insolencies was largely to recruit the regiments at 
Newark. 4 

But the Independents were not to be put down. Holding 

1 Cook's History, vol. iii. p. 92. reterkin's Records. Rushworth, &e. 

2 Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 271-96. 

5 Letter from the Commissioners in London to the General Assembly, 
4th June 1644. Peterkin's Records,, pp. 400, 401. 
* iiaillie, vol. ii. pp. 300, 325, &c. 


that every congregation was a perfect Church in itself, they 
repudiated presbyteries, synods, and assemblies, and shocked 
the Scotch commissioners by talking of taking the sacrament 
of the Supper in their pews, of preaching with their hats on, 
and of extending liberty of conscience to all. Knowing the 
persuasive power of the Scotch army, they lifted up their voice 
against it. They declared it was useless ; that the expense of 
maintaining it was intolerable ; and that, notwithstanding days 
of fasting and meetings of presbytery within its lines, it was 
defiling the land with whoredoms. 1 Cromwell had already 
thrown out some unmistakeable hints that, unless a universal 
toleration were given, he would exact it from both senators and 
divines at the head of his invincible brigades. 

The Erastian spirit which pervaded the parliament grieved 
the Scotch Presbyters almost as much as the love for Inde- 
pendency which was growing up in the army. The legislature 
showed no dislike to ecclesiastical courts, but it showed a 
determined resolution to keep these courts subservient to 
itself; and the successors of Andrew Melville imagined this to 
be an infringement of the crown-rights of the Redeemer, and 
remonstrated earnestly against it. While such controversies 
were going on, sects were multiplying with alarming rapidity. 
Millenaries, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Libertines, Familists, 
P^nthusiasts, Seekers, Perfectists, Antiscripturists, Ranters, 
Beheminists, Quakers, preached their strange doctrines, and 
practised their strange rites ; and not unfrequently the cor- 
poral in the army, or the shopkeeper at his counter, imagined 
himself commissioned by Heaven to expound the Scriptures, 
to administer the sacraments, and become the founder of a 
sect. We now regard these extravagances of the religious 
life with composure ; but that generation, accustomed to unity, 
and ignorant of dissent, beheld these things as men for the 
first time behold the hideous forms of animal life which crawl 
forth from a decaying body. 

But affairs were fast coining to an issue. The 
4 fortune of war had gone against the king, and, 
driven to despair, he sought shelter in the Scotch army in the 
beginning of May 1646. It was strange he should have 
trusted himself to the men who had been the first to raise the 
revolutionary storm ; but it is probable he thought he could 
depend upon the loyalty of his ancestral kingdom, and 
imagined that since he had granted them all that they desired 
for themselves, they would not stubbornly insist upon his 
1 Baillie, vol. ii. pp. 319, 320. 


bestowing the same blessings upon others. In this he was 
wrong. The Scotch believed themselves sworn to a covenanted 
uniformity, and were now as eager to extend Presbytery to 
England as ever they had been to procure it for themselves. 
Negotiations for a termination of hostilities were instantly set 
on foot. The king was asked, alike by English and Scotch, 
to abolish Episcopacy, ratify the proceedings of the West- 
minster Divines, take the Covenant himself, compel others to 
do so, and set up a Church in conformity with its principles. 
He declared that he could not in conscience do so, as he 
held by the Divine right of Episcopacy, but professed himself 
willing to be convinced if he were in error. 1 

It was thought that controversy might open his eyes, and 
he condescended to enter the lists with Henderson, the 
greatest champion of Presbytery. The letters which passed 
between them have been preserved, and do honour to both 
controversialists. The king is complimentary to the learning 
and abilities of Henderson ; and Henderson, while honestly 
stating his opinions, is ever mindful of the majesty of the 
throne. The argument on both sides is candid, learned, and 
logical. It has been disputed as to which should bear the 
palm ; but it is certain that neither obtained the victory. 2 
Within a month or two after this, Henderson, worn out with 
anxiety and fatigue, died at Edinburgh, and was honoured in 
his grave by both friends and foes. 

The Episcopal party in England was now crushed, and the 
contest for supremacy lay between the Presbyterians and 
Independents. The Presbyterians were honestly anxious to 
come to terms with the king, and had he consented to their 
conditions, he w r ould have saved his crown and his life, and 
might have reigned long as the head of a limited monarchy 
and a Presbyterian Church. Commissioners from the English 
parliament, commissioners from the Scotch parliament, Lord 
Leven, at the head of the officers of the Scotch army, begged 
and importuned him to yield ; but still he pleaded that his 
conscience would not allow him ; and if it was so, we must 
respect while we pity him. The Independents rejoiced at his 
obstinacy. 3 Many of them were republicans, and wished to see 
the monarchy utterly overthrown. All of them were separatists 
from Presbytery as well as from Episcopacy, and knew that, if 

1 See Documents in Rushworth's Collections. 

2 Works of Charles I., vol. i. 

3 See Baillie's Letters, of this date, to Henderson at Newcastle, 
vol. ii. 


its foot were planted in the land, bonds, confiscation of goods, 
and exile awaited them. 

While these negotiations were still pending,. 
J uy the English parliament intimated that there was 

no longer any need for the presence of the Scotch army ; and 
the Scotch declared they were willing to retire so soon as their 
arrears were paid. They claimed nearly two millions, but by 
September they had come down to ^400,000 ; which the 
English consented to pay, one-fourth before the army left 
Newcastle, and the remainder by instalments afterwards. On 
the 1 8th of the same month the English parliament declared 
that it belonged to them to dispose of the king, to which the 
Scotch parliament demurred ; but the Commission of the 
General Assembly strengthened the hands of the English, by 
protesting that they could not consent to the monarch setting 
foot upon Scottish soil till first he had signed the Covenant. 1 
On the 2 1 st of December thirty-six carts left London with the 
first instalment for the Scottish army. On the 5th of January 
1647 the parliament appointed commissioners to proceed to 
Newcastle and receive the king from the Scotch. On the 
1 6th of the month the Scottish Estates transmitted their 
consent to the king going to Holmby House in Northampton- 
shire, to remain there till he should give satisfaction to both 
kingdoms. On the 23d the commissioners appointed to 
receive the king arrived ; and on the 30th the Scotch army 
marched out of the town, leaving the unhappy monarch in 
their hands. 2 

These transactions are held by some to have left an in- 
delible stain upon the honour and loyalty of the Scottish 
nation. They are said to have sold their king. The reproach 
receives some appearance of truth from the fact, that the 
negotiations for the payment of the army arrears and the dis- 
posal of the king's person were contemporaneous ; and it may 
be allowed that the payment of the arrears had something to 
do with the disposal of the king, for it left no pretence for the 
Scotch to remain upon English soil, and thus brought matters 
to an issue. The army, in returning to Scotland, must either 
take the king along with them or leave him behind. Had they 

1 A Solemn and Seasonable Warning to all Estates and Degrees of 
Persons throughout the Land ; by the Commissioners of the General 
Assembly. See Rushworth's Collections. 

2 See Rushworth's Historical Collections. Also Peterkin's Records, 
pp. 460-65. 


adopted the former alternative, they ran the hazard of a war 
with England, and incurred the anger of the Scottish clergy, 
who had declared that they would not suffer an uncovenanted 
king within their borders. They therefore resolved to leave 
Charles upon English ground, and in the custody of his Eng- 
lish parliament. In this no great wrong was done. It must be 
remembered that in 1647 nobody knew what was to happen 
in 1649. The scene before Whitehall was yet undreamt of. 
They did not deliver up Charles that he might be led to judg- 
ment and death. They merely left him in the hands of his 
southern subjects that he might be coerced into their terms. 
Much could be said in favour of his being left to the tender 
mercies of his English rather than of his Scotch subjects. 
England was much the larger country. The king ordinarily 
resided in England, and was in England while the question of 
his custody was debated. It was with his English parliament 
he had waged war ; it was his English subjects who asked 
reform. Scotland had got all it wished years ago, and now it 
had nothing to ask but that the same blessings should be 
bestowed upon England. Why should not Scotland leave 
Charles in England, that England might concuss him into its 
measures ? Were not the countries bound by Covenant ties, — 
did they not seek the same things, — would it not look like a 
violation of their pledged faith had the Scotch carried away 
the king into their own country, and left the English to settle 
their distracted state as they could? 1 

^ The Church of Scotland had now attained to 

4 ' the summit of its greatness. It had achieved the 
conquest of prelatical England, and given a form of polity to 
the whole empire. With the sanction of the parliament, pres- 
byteries had been set up in London and other parts of the 
country ■ 2 and the Westminster Assembly, after having lasted 
for five years and a-half, and sat one thousand one hundred 
and sixty-three times, had nearly finished its labours. 3 In 
1645 the General Assembly had given its sanction to the 
4 "Form of Church Government " and the " Directory for 
Public Worship." In 1647 it accepted with some limitations 
the " Westminster Confession of Faith," as " in nothing con- 
trary to the received doctrine," as necessary " for the intended 
uniformity in religion," and to serve for a " common Confes- 

1 Among Lord Somers' Tracts there is a sarcastic answer to the argu- 
ments of the Scotch for retaining the king. (See Tracts, vol. i. col. 4.) 

2 Baillie's Letters, vol. ii. 3 Neal's History, vol. ii. p. 333. 


sion of Faith for the three kingdoms." l In all this it had 
shown a sacrificing spirit — it had thrown aside its own " Con- 
fession of Faith/' and its own " Book of Common Order,'' 
both the legacy of Knox, that its Covenanted uniformity with 
England might be secured. 2 Long ago repudiated by England, 
the Confession still remains the creed of the Scotch Church; but, 
of course, modern theology has, in some respects, outgrown it. 
as it has most of the scientific and speculative compositions oi 
the period. But of all the compilations of the Westminster 
Divines, the " Shorter Catechism " is undoubtedly the best. 
Its admirable method ; the manner in which every question 
grows out of the answer which preceded it; its union of 
simplicity in statement with depth of doctrine, make it one of 
the most perfect of catechetical compositions. It has exerted 
a prodigious influence in moulding not merely the religious 
but the mental character of Scotland. To admit that it errs in 
some points is merely to admit that it is human. 

The same Assembly which sanctioned the " Confession of 
Faith ,? had under its consideration a new metrical version of 
the psalms. Mr Rouse, a member of the English House of 
Commons, was the author of this version; but he had not dis- 
dained to borrow largely from a version at that period greatly 
despised, because it happened to bear the name of King 
James, but which was in reality the composition of Sir William 
Alexander of Menstrie, afterwards created Earl of Stirling. 
The Assembly appointed a committee to revise the poetical 
translation of Rouse, with instructions to make what use they 
could of the version of the Laird of Rowallan, and of Zachary 
Boyd, at that time well knoAvn to the lovers of sacred poesy. 
The result of their labours was that version of the psalms now 
sung every Sunday in our churches, and which, though neither 
so classical in its language, nor so melodious in its measures 
as we would expect from the age which produced a " Paradise 
Lost," and "L' Allegro," is yet so terse, so true to the original, 
and so natural, as to be upon the whole the best poetical trans- 

1 See the Acts of these Assemblies. 

2 The last reference which I have found to the Genevan liturgy is in the 
Acts of the Assemby, 1649, in which the Church petitions the parliament 
to give the sums which had hitherto been given to the readers (evidently 
of the Liturgy) to schoolmasters, now that the Directory for Public Wor- 
ship had been adopted. Explicit mention of the Liturgy is avoided. Was 
this intentional? Had the Church become ashamed of it ? (Peterkin, p. 
553.) In Nichol's Diary for 1650, there is a notice, that the Directory 
having been introduced in 1646, the ministers now began to deliver lec- 
tures in place of the morning and evening prayers. 


lation of the psalms of which the English literature can boast. 1 
The present authorised version of the Bible had been publish- 
ed so early as 1611, under the paternal care of King James, 
and soon superseded the old Genevan translation, so that the 
Church of Scotland had now all these symbols of its faith and 

But the General Assembly still lacked catholicity of spirit. 
The Presbyterians in England were exhorted by their brethren 
in Scotland to use every effort to extirpate the sects which 
were so rapidly springing up in every part of the country. 
They were told that the unclean spirit which had been cast out 
was entering in again, with seven other spirits worse than him- 
self ; so that the latter end of England was like to be worse 
than the beginning. And, afraid lest the gangrene, as it was 
sometimes called, should spread northwards, an act was passed 
prohibiting all books in which the pestilent heresies of the 
Independents were maintained from entering the country. 2 

The summer and autumn of 1647 brought 

\.d. 1 47. a | 30ut revolutions in England which placed the 
king in the hands of the army, and laid the parliament pros- 
trate at its feet. The people now found that they had evoked 
a spirit which they could not lay ; and that military despotism 
was to be the first fruit of the civil war. The Scotch Estates ; 
still loyal, toward the end of the year despatched the Earls of 
Loudon and Lanark to make a last effort to save the king. At 
Carisbrook Castle, the captive monarch, now sorely humbled, 
promised to give to the Solemn League and Covenant a parlia- 
mentary sanction, provided that none should be compelled to 
take it against their will ; and to establish Presbytery in Eng- 
land for three years, provided that he and his household were 
allowed their own mode of worship ; and after these three years, 
to establish permanently such a polity as the Westminster 
divines, with twenty commissioners of his nomination, should 
determine as most agreeable to the Word of God. These con- 
ditions were afterwards embodied in a treaty with the Scotch 
Estates, known as the Engagement. 3 

r o In March, the Estates met at Edinburgh : 

A.I). IO40. , . \ r i • 

the commissioners gave an account of their 
embassage ; and a resolution was agreed upon, by a large 

1 They who wish to study the history of our psalmody must consult 
liaillie's Letters and Journals; together with a learned sketch in the 
Appendix to the Bannatyne Edition, by the editor, Dr Laing. 

2 See Acts of Assembly, 1647. 

;} See Rushworth's Collections. Clarendon's History, &c. 

A.D. 1648. J THE ENGAGERS. 63 

majority, to put the nation in a posture of defence. This 
resolution was not come to without trouble. The Commis- 
sion of the Assembly — a body not constituted as at present, 
but composed of a nominated number — had for some years 
been rising into power, and now remonstrated violently against 
the proceedings of the parliament. They declared that the 
king's concessions were not enough. They held that Charles 
must not only take the Covenant himself, but compel all 
others to take it too ; that he must not only establish Presby- 
tery in England, but establish it permanently and at once, and 
become a Presbyterian himself. 1 The parliament had for 
some years been in pupilage to the Church, and tried on this 
occasion to humour it by concessions ; but finding that no 
concession would do, it broke its yoke, and acted for itself. 
An army was raised, and the Duke of Hamilton placed at 
its head. 

In the month of July the Assembly met, and gave its ap- 
proval to the proceedings of its Commission, and showed 
itself disposed to defy the Parliament. It complained of the 
parliament entering into such an Engagement without its con- 
sent ; it declared the oath which the parliament had imposed 
to be an unlawful snare, and prohibited the people from taking 
it : it maintained that to unite with malignants against sectaries 
was to join hands with a black devil to beat a white one ; and 
proved this from the case of Asa and Benhadad, Ahaz and the 
King of Assyria, Jehoshaphat and Ahab \ and finally threatened 
with the highest censure ministers who should not speak out 
against the acts of the legislature. 2 The pretensions of Hilde- 
brand, which led to the war of investitures, were not so high 
as those of this conclave of presbyters in the Scottish Vatican. 

The Marquis of Argyll, with the Earls of Cassillis and 
Eglinton, had always taken part with the rigid Covenanters ; 
the Chancellor Loudon now ratted, reprobated a treaty which 
himself had devised, and did public penance for his back- 
sliding in the High Church of Edinburgh. The army of the 
Engagers, ill disciplined and ill equipped, after dispersing an 
armed muster of the peasantry at Mauchline, penetrated into 
England, and being encountered at Preston by the invincible 
battalions of Cromwell, was decisively defeated, 
ugus 17. Hamilton, who had shewn himself incapable of 
command, was taken prisoner, and soon afterwards paid for 
his loyalty with his life. 3 

J Burnet's Memoirs, p. 339. - Peterkin's Records, p. 509. 

3 Burnet's Memoirs. Baillie's Letters, cK:c. 


When the news of this disaster reached Scotland, Argyll, 
Cassillis, and Eglinton assembled their vassals ; the westland 
ministers combined with the westland nobles in calling the 
people to arms ; crowds of excited Covenanters poured toward 
the capital ; the Committee of Estates fled at their approach ; 
and a change of the government was effected, which placed 
Argyll once more at the head of affairs. This was called the 
" Whiggamore's Raid," and originated the name by which one 
of the great political parties in the State is still known. The 
party in power hastened to make their peace with Cromwell, 
forgetful that they were pledged by their Covenant to extirpate 
all such sectaries as he. They placed Berwick and Carlisle in 
his hands, brought him to Edinburgh, and gave banquets in 
his honour. They showed, however, that their notions were 
as narrow as ever, by passing the Act of Classes, by which 
they excluded from all places of honour and trust every one 
who had shown himself hostile to the Covenant, taken any 
part in the Engagement, or contracted any other like deadly 
sin. The consequence was, large numbers of ministers were 
deposed, the parliament was reduced to a fraction of its 
strength, and every statesman and every magistrate suspected 
of malignancy was driven from his post. 1 

On the 30th of January 1649, Charles was beheaded before 
his palace of Whitehall. He fell, like Louis XVI. in France, 
not because he was the worst or most despotic king whom 
England had seen, but simply because in his day despotic 
and democratic ideas came into collision. We must pity his 
fate ; but we may partly console ourselves with the reflection 
that his death has not been lost upon the world. It has 
taught many kings to be wise. 

So soon as the news of his execution reached Edinburgh, 
the Estates proclaimed his eldest son, Charles, king of Scot- 
land. But their loyalty did not make them forget their 
Covenant. They passed an act, ordaining that he should 
not be admitted to the exercise of the sovereignty till he 
should swear to the Solemn League and Covenant, and con- 
sent that all civil matters should be ordered by the parlia- 
ments, and all ecclesiastical affairs by the Assembly of the 

1 Lamont's Diary, Sept. and Oct. 1649. Kirkton's History, p. 48. 
Kirkton says, " Now the ministry was notably purified, the magistracy 
altered, the people strangely refined. It is true, at this time hardly the 
fifth part of the lords of Scotland were admitted to sit in parliament ; but 
those who did sit were esteemed truly godly men." 


Church. They despatched commissioners to the Hague, to 
declare their loyalty and explain their terms to the exiled 
prince. The prince at first thought that exile was better than 
the Covenant. 

On the 7th of July the Assembly met. In their acts we 
have a strange mixture of the darkest fanaticism with the 
truest appreciation of constitutional freedom. They ordained 
that all who had been involved in the Engagement, or in 
any way expressed their approbation of it, should be re- 
garded as malignants, and either submit to the ignominy of 
the Church's discipline, or .endure the horrors of excommu- 
nication. They resolved that the army as well as the par- 
liament should be purged of malignants. They declared 
that Charles II. must take the Covenant if he would reign 
over them. In short, all must think just as they thought ; 
and though two watches have never been got to go exactly 
alike, all the minds of the nation must be made to keep time 
with the mind of the Church. Yet the same Assembly could 
give utterance to propositions which form the basis of the 
limited monarchy and the free constitution which we now 

In the beginning of 1650 Montrose landed 
5 °' in Scotland, anxious to make one effort more 
for the throne. The Estates, though recognising the king, 
could not recognise his general, as he had fallen away from 
the Covenant, and troops were instantly marched against 
him. His little army was beaten and dispersed, and he 
himself, after wandering about some days among the hills of 
Assynt, was betrayed and taken prisoner. He was carried 
to Edinburgh, condemned to death, conveyed through the 
crowded streets in an open cart driven by the executioner, 
and hanged upon a gallows thirty feet high. 1 His death has 
left a deep stain upon the character of all who were impli- 
cated in it — and many of the ministers were not free. They 
were now enjoying their day of power ; but the scene was 
to be changed, and was it likely that Charles would forget 
Montrose ? 

. Previous to the expedition of Montrose, a deputation from 
the Scotch Estates had waited upon the king at Breda, to 
urge him once more to accept the terms upon which they 
were willing to invest him with the supreme authority. 

1 The Wigton Papers. Napier's Life and Times of Montrose. Balfour's 
Annals, &c. 



Charles had hitherto cherished hopes that he might be 
restored to his thrones by a Royalist movement in Ireland ; 
but every such hope had been dashed, and now Scotland 
held out to him the only chance of sovereignty which 
remained. The terms were hard ; but he was not a man to 
stick at terms, and he gave them his consent. He promised 
to remove from the court all who had been excommunicated 
by the Church ; to take the Solemn League and Covenant ; 
to ratify all acts of parliament enjoining it ; to establish the 
Presbyterian government and worship ; to practise the same 
in his own family ; and to allow all civil matters to be deter- 
mined in the parliament, and all ecclesiastical matters in 
the Assemblies of the Church. This done, the king set sail 
for Scotland, and reached the mouth of the Spey by the 
middle of June. He was not allowed to set his foot upon 
the shore till he had subscribed the Covenant, and, with all 
his profligacy of principle, he could not conceal his reluc- 
tance to do so. The Duke of Hamilton (whom we have pre- 
viously known as the Earl of Lanark) and the Earl of Lauder- 
dale were in his train ; but it was intimated to them that they 
must begone, as they were implicated in the sinful Engage- 
ment. The Marquis of Argyll hastened to pay his respects 
to his sovereign ; but it was soon evident, that, while he might 
give the badges of royalty to Charles, he was determined to 
keep the power to himself. 1 

Charles was now amongst Covenanters of the strictest sect, 
and it was necessary he should conform to their ways. " He 
wrought himself," says Burnet, " into as grave a deportment 
as he could ; he heard many prayers and sermons, some of 
great length. I remember in one fast-day there were six ser- 
mons preached without intermission. I was there myself," 
says the bishop, " and not a little weary of so tedious a service. " 
We shall not wonder that the king was weary too, when we 
hear that the blood-guiltiness of his father and the idolatry of 
his mother sometimes formed the principal subjects of dis- 
course. Charles would have liked a quiet walk on the Sunday 
afternoon, but this was forbidden ; he would have enjoyed a 
dance or a game at cards, for he had been accustomed to these 
things when an exile ; but he could not have them when he 
was king. 2 Every morning and every evening, throughout 
the whole week, there was a lecture, and the unhappy 

1 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 422. Cook's History of the Church, vol. iii. 

2 Burnet's History of his own Times, pp. 57, 58. 


monarch was not often allowed to be absent. 1 But he could 
not be always kept in the strait-jacket of Presbytery, and gave 
occasional scandal by his frolics and sinnings. 

But the worst was coming. The king was asked to sign a 
declaration in which he professed himself to be deeply humbled 
in the sight of God for his father's opposition to the Solemn 
League and Covenant, by which so much of the blood of the 
Lord's people had been shed, and for the idolatry of his 
mother, and its toleration in the king's house ; and that he 
himself had subscribed the Covenant sincerely, and not from 
any sinister intention or crooked design. 2 This document had 
been drawn up by the Commission of the Church, and ratified 
by the Committee of Estates ; and when presented to the king 
for his signature, he was shocked at the words which it put 
into his mouth. He was plainly told, however, that unless he 
subscribed they would not espouse his quarrel. Charles II. 
was a different man from Charles I. The father's conscience 
perpetually came in the way of compromise ; the son had no 
conscience at all, when concessions, however base, promised 
to secure some important end. At Dunfermline, on the 16th 
of August, he put his name to the paper. Was it not too bad 
that the ministers of religion should compel the unprincipled 
youth to break the first commandment with promise, by casting 
public dishonour on his father and mother ? They knew he 
was not sincere. They had blamed the sire for yielding no- 
thing ; they had now got a son who would yield everything. 
He seemed to be sent by Providence to teach them the folly 
of concussing the conscience. 

When it was known in England that Charles II. had landed 
in Scotland, Cromwell instantly marched northwards with those 
warriors who had never shown their back to any foe. But the 
Scots were prepared for his coming, and an array of twenty or 
thirty thousand men was gathered around the metropolis. It 
was resolved that the army of sectaries should be opposed by 
an army of saints. The Scottish musters were drawn out on 
Leith Links, and purged of every one who was suspected of 
Malignancy, or had taken part in the Engagement. The pur- 
gation went on day after day, and upwards of eighty officers 
and several thousand men were struck from the strength of the 

1 Trail's MS. Cook's History, vol. iii. p. 191. 

2 Balfour's Annals, vol. iv. p. 92. A copy of the document will be 
found in the curious tract called ' ' Eschol Grapes, or Some of the Ancient 
Boundaries and Covenanted March Stones." 


army. 1 Every one, from the commander-in-chief to the drum- 
mer-boy, behoved to be a Covenanter, without the least spot 
or blemish of Malignancy. Sir Edward Walker declares that 
those left in command were mostly " ministers' sons, clerks, and 
other sanctified creatures, who hardly ever saw or heard of any 
sword but that of the Spirit.'' Some of the nobles and 
gentry who had been involved in the Engagement offered their 
services to hang upon Cromwell's rear, since they were forbid- 
den to act with their more orthodox countrymen; but the 
preachers declared that the least compliance of this kind would 
bring the judgments of God upon the land. 2 While this was 
going on, Cromwell wrote a letter to the Commissioners of the 
Kirk of Scotland, in which he asked — " Is it therefore infallibly 
agreeable to the Word of God all that you say ? I beseech 
you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mis- 
taken. There may be a covenant made with Death and Hell. 
I will not say yours was so ; " and, finally, he begged them to 
read the twenty-eighth of Isaiah from the fifth to the fifteenth 
verse. 3 The uncompromising Covenanters had met their 
match on their own ground. 

After some skirmishes in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, 
Cromwell found himself beset with such difficulties that he 
was forced to retreat southwards toward Dunbar. The Scots 
followed hard upon his heels. Cromwell had some thoughts 
of embarking his troops and returning to England by sea ; but 
the Scots had taken up a position on Doon Hill, a spur of the 
Lammermoors, which rendered such an operation difficult and 
dangerous, and besides, they held possession of the passes 
between Dunbar and Berwick. " Because of our weakness, 
because of our strait," wrote Cromwell, when all was over, 
"we were in the mount, and in the mount the Lord would be 
seen, and would find out a way of deliverance and salvation for 
us." 4 After Cromwell and his officers had thus sought the 
Lord in the mount, they were walking in the Earl of Roxburgh's 
gardens, and through their telescopes they observed a great 
motion in the Scottish camp. " They are coming down to 

1 Balfour's Annals, vol. iv. Nichol's Diary, 25th July 1650. Sir Edward 
Walker's Historical Discourse. Peterkin's Records. " Articles for 
Purging the Army," may be seen in " Eschol Grapes." 

2 Sir Edward Walker's Historical Discourse. Peterkin's Records, p. 

s Cromwell's Letters and Speeches by Carlyle, vol. iii. 
4 Cromwell's Letter to Mr Speaker Lenthall, 4th September 1650. 
Harris's Life of Cromwell, pp. 244, 245. 

A.D. 1650.] BATTLE OF DUNBAR. 69 

us; God is delivering them into our hands!" 1 cried Oliver, 
with the strong confidence of a man who had never lost a 
battle. " Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered." 
They did come down ; the caution of Leslie had been over- 
borne by the fanaticism of those who surrounded him ; and on 
the 3d of September they fell in thousands before the sword 
of the sectaries. It was perhaps well that the illiberal spirit 
of the Covenanting host should have been thus sternly rebuked; 
but it did them no good; for, on the day of fasting proclaimed 
on account of the defeat, they, amongst other causes of a like 
kind, ascribed their disaster to the allowing a most malignant 
and profane guard of horse to be about the king, and to fight 
in his cause. 2 

After this decisive victory Cromwell marched upon Edin 
burgh, and then, proceeding westward, visited Linlithgow, 
Kilsyth, and Glasgow. The discipline of the Puritan army 
was so strict that few had to complain of any injury done them 
by the victorious troopers. In accordance with his principles, 
Cromwell made it known to the ministers that they might go 
on with their worship, and would meet with no disturbance ; 
but in Glasgow and other places most of them fled at his 
approach, lest contact with him .might bring upon them the 
taint of Malignancy. Stout Zachary Boyd, however, kept his 
ground, and in the High Church of Glasgow railed against 
Cromwell and his sectaries to their face. 3 

The spirit which animated the host scattered at Dunbar was 
high ; but there was a spirit higher still in the State. There 
were some who had never been satisfied with the king. It 
was true he had granted all that they desired — signed every 
paper laid before him — professed himself willing to do any- 
thing ; but they declared it was all hypocrisy ; and it was not 
easy to answer them, for there was truth in what they said. 
Defeat, instead of producing union, created exasperation, and 
led to division. The opinions we have referred to now became 
the war-cry of a party strong in the west country, led by Patrick 
Gillespie and Colonel Strachan — a man whose pretensions to 
surpassing sanctity made people remember rather than forget 
that his youth had been devoted to lewdness. 4 In the month 
of October they directed a remonstrance to the Committee of 
Estates, in which they reckoned among the sins of the land 

1 Burnet's Times, vol. i. p. 57. 

2 Balfour's Annals, vol. iv. pp. 102-7, 

3 Baillie's Letters, vol. iii. p. 119. Ibid. pp. 112, 113. 


the treaty with the king, as he had as yet given no evidence 
of a real change ; and declared that the Lord had a controversy 
with them, both because of this, and because some malignant 
and profane persons were still allowed to remain in the court, 
in the judicatories, and in the army. 1 The menacing tone of 
this document received meaning from the fact that Strachan 
was at the head of a considerable body of troops, and seemed 
inclined to wage war both against the English sectaries and 
the Scotch Covenanters. He was attacked, however, near 
Hamilton, by a division of the Puritan army, and defeated, 
and it was felt that by this the teeth of the Remonstrance 
were broken. Strachan himself joined Cromwell, and his 
party was dispersed ; but their opinions still lingered in the 
land. They were called Remonstrants, and we shall hear of 
them again. 

Meanwhile, the king grew weary of the restraints imposed 
upon him, and, giving his keepers the slip, fled from Perth, 
crossed the Tay, and rode rapidly to the north, to which he 
had been invited by some of his friends. But finding that he 
could expect no effective support in such a quarter, he quietly 
returned, after an absence of two days. This runaway affair 
was called the " start," and, though rash and foolish, led to 
some improvement in the king's condition. He was hence- 
forward allowed to preside in his council, and steps were taken 
to have him crowned at Scone. 

The i st of January 1651 was fixed for the 

a.d. 1 51. cor0 nation, and, according to the custom of the 
time, two days of fasting were held throughout the country 
toward the end of December — the first for the general contempt 
of the gospel; the second for the sins of the king and his 
father's house. When the day came, the crown was placed 
upon Charles' head by the Marquis of Argyll, with all the 
usual solemnities of such an occasion, — the king, with uplifted 
hand, taking the usual oaths, and the nobles, upon bended 
knees, rendering the customary homage. 2 

While the king was being crowned at Scone, all the country 
south of the Forth was in the hands of the English sectaries 
— the castle of Stirling forming the frontier fortress of the 
royalists. The army of Leslie had been scattered at Dunbar, 
the host of Strachan at Hamilton, and the operations of the 

1 A copy of this Remonstrance will be found in Balfour, vol. iv., and 
also in Peterkin, p. 604. 

2 Lamont's Diary. Baillie's Letters, vol. iii. Cook's History, vol. iii. 

A.D. 1651.] ACT OF CLASSES. 7 1 

recruiting serjeant were sorely circumscribed by the Act of 
Classes. The half of the population had in some one way or 
another incurred the taint of Malignancy, and none of these 
might shoulder a musket for their country in her extreme need. 
Every sensible, and every patriotic man, began to cry out 
against this suicidal absurdity. The king complained that 
those who were most attached to his person were debarred 
from his presence, and even forbidden to shed their blood in 
his cause. Some of the ministers complained that the Church 
was ruined by its own divisions, and that Presbytery was 
trampled in the dust by sectaries. There was a wide-spread 
wish for the repeal, or at least for the modification of the Act 
of Classes, so that every gallant man might have it in his power 
to serve his country. 

The matter was brought before the Committee of Estates so 
early as the 4th of December 1650. But it was felt that it 
would be dangerous to do anything without the approbation 
of the Church, which ruled all things, civil as well as sacred. 
The Moderator of the General Assembly was therefore re- 
quested to call a meeting of the Commission at Perth, that it 
might give its advice in the matter. 1 Meanwhile, the subject 
was debated among the ministers themselves, and there was a 
pretty general opinion that Malignants might be admitted to 
serve as common soldiers, provided they made a public pro- 
fession of their repentance \ but that all the officers should be 
men upon whom the odious stigma had never been affixed. 2 
When the Commission met on the 14th of the month, the 
parliament proposed the following question for its solution : — 
" What persons are to be admitted to rise in arms, and to join 
with the forces of the kingdom, and in what capacity, for 
defence thereof, against the armies of the sectaries, who, con- 
trary to the Solemn League and Covenant and treaties, have 
most unjustly invaded, and are destroying the kingdom ? " 
The Commission answered, " In this case of so great and 
ardent necessity we cannot be against the raising of all fencible 
persons in the land, and permitting them to fight against this 
enemy for defence of the kingdom ; excepting such as are 
excommunicated, forfeited, notoriously profane, flagitious, or 
such as have been from the beginning, or continue still, and 
are at this time obstinate and professed enemies and opposers 
of the Covenant and cause of God." 3 

1 Balfour, vol. iv. p. 197. 2 BaillieV Letters, vol. iii. pp. 125, 126. 
3 Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, Intro- 
duction, vol. i. p. 2, Dr Burn's edition. 


As the resolution of the Commission implied that all who 
had been deprived of Church privileges for their Malignancy 
should submit to Church discipline before they could enlist, 
the churches were now filled with men in sackcloth making 
a mock penitence. Some who had fought with the gallant 
Marquis of Montrose ; many who had fled in the rout of the 
army of the Engagers, took their place at the church-doors, 
that by submitting to this humiliation they might once more 
follow the exciting fortunes of the war. 1 Great lords, soldiers, 
and statesmen did penance before their parish ministers — the 
almighty dispensers of pardon, mercy, and military commands. 
The Duke of Hamilton, the Lord Chancellor Loudon, the 
Earl of Dunfermline, the Earl of Lauderdale, the Earl of 
Crawford, and other nobles, put on sackcloth for their im- 
puted sins, now when this door of return was opened to them. 
Favour, it would seem, was shown to the Royalists rather 
than the Remonstrants, as the following curious notice in 
Balfour appears to testify: — " 12th January, Sunday. — This 
day Lieutenant-General Middleton was relaxed from his ex- 
communication, and did his penance in sackcloth in Dundee 
Church ; and Colonel Archibald Strachan was excommuni- 
cated, and delivered to the devil in the Church of Perth by 
Mr Alexander Rollock the same day." 2 General Middleton 
had held a high command in Hamilton's foolish expedition ; 
and Strachan, it will be remembered, was at the head of the 
Remonstrant rising in the west. 

The ministers were not unanimous in regard to these 
healing measures. Many cried out vehemently against them 
as a surrender of all that was sacred — as a lowering of a 
Covenanted state to the level of the world. Several presby- 
teries deprecated the step which had been taken. The Com- 
mission vindicated its conduct. 3 Pamphlets appeared upon 
both sides, and the odium theologicum was increased by the 
number of Malignants who were now raised to colonelcies in 
the army. But the parliament was resolved to take still another 
step, and now propounded to the Commission, whether they 
might not admit to the Committee of Estates such as had been 
excluded from it, provided they first gave satisfaction to the 
Church for their offence ? The Commission gave a very guarded 
answer, but an answer which implied that under certain re- 

1 Burnet's Memoirs, p. 425; Times, vol. i. p. 58. See also Sir James 
Turner's Memoirs. 

2 Balfour's Annals, vol. iv. p. 240. 3 Ibid. pp. 284-95. 


strictions the thing might be done. 1 This was all that the par- 
liament wished ; and on the last day of May it rescinded the 
Act of Classes, one of the most bigoted and illiberal pieces 
of legislation which ever disgraced the statute-book of any 
country. 2 In the month of July following the General Assem- 
bly met and gave the stamp of its approbation to the proceed- 
ings of its Commission. But a protest, signed by twenty-two 
ministers, was given in against its lawfulness, on the ground 
that both the king and the Commission had interfered with its 
constitution. Three of the leading protesters were deposed ; 
and from this time the Church was torn into two factions — 
hating and hated — which communicated the virulence of 
their feelings to the whole country. 3 Those who adhered to 
the resolutions of the Commission and the Assembly were 
called Resolutioners \ those who protested against them 
were called Protesters. At the head of the first were 
Douglas, Bailiie, and Dickson ; at the head of the second, 
Patrick Gillespie, James Guthrie, and Samuel Rutherford. 

The armies of the king and Cromwell were again in motion. 
Charles had taken up a strong position near Stirling, and 
Cromwell, thinking it dangerous to attack him, turned his 
position, crossed the Forth at Queensferry, and pushing 
on to Perth, took easy possession of it. Charles now resolved 
to carry the war into England. Breaking up his camp, he 
began a rapid march southward, and Cromwell, hearing 
of this movement, instantly gave chase. The hostile armies 
met at Worcester, and there Cromwell obtained " his crown- 
ing mercy." It was on the 3d of September the battle was 
fought — Cromwell's lucky day ; the day on which he had 
conquered at Dunbar \ the day on which he afterwards died. 
Charles^fled from the field, and after skulking about the 
country for some time in disguise, managed to escape to 
France. Cromwell commissioned General Monk to complete 
the subjugation of Scotland, and he did it more effectually, 
though less cruelly, than had Edward I. For nine years 
Presbyterian Scotland was little better than a province of 
Puritanic England. 

On the 21st of July 1652 the General Assembly again met ; 
and again the Anti-Resolutioners protested against its autho- 

1 Wodrow, vol. i. p. 3. 2 Balfour, vol. iv. pp. 296, 297. 

3 See Peterkin's Records for an account of this Assembly; but its Acts 
have not been preserved, and no Assembly after 1649 till the Revolution 
is recognised as lawful. 


rity. The Assembly vindicated its lawfulness, and threatened 
the Protesters with the discipline of the Church, unless they 
withdrew from their protests. Once more, in July 1653, the 
Assembly met, to meet no more for many sad years. When 
the Moderator was in the act of calling the roll, Colonel 
Cotterel entered the church, which he had already surrounded 
by a troop of horse and a company of musketeers, and 
demanded of the ministers by whose authority they met — by 
the authority of the parliament of the Commonwealth of Eng- 
land, or by authority of the Scottish judges? The Moderator 
replied that they were an ecclesiastical synod, and meddled not 
with civil affairs ; that they met by the authority of Jesus 
Christ and the laws of the land ; and that the English army, 
by the Solemn League and Covenant, were pledged to main- 
tain their privileges. The English colonel told them they 
must begone. The Moderator asked to be allowed to pray, 
and began ; but the soldier, though a Puritan, grew weary, and 
told him he must stop and go at once. When the ministers, 
mourning over the violence done to their Zion by the 
triumphant sectaries, were come to the door of the church, 
they were placed between two files of soldiers, marched through 
the town to the Port, and then ordered to disperse and never 
to meet again. 1 

Though the English Puritans thus put down the General 
Assembly, they did not interfere with the meetings of kirk- 
sessions, presbyteries, and synods. They seldom disturbed 
the established worship. In a few cases they broke in upon 
the devotions of the ministers, who ventured to pray 
for the king. On one occasion they laid hold of 
some north-country ministers, and having charged them with 
desecrating the Sabbath by travelling upon it, had "the im- 
pudence to mulct them in forty shillings. They had a special 
contempt for the stool of repentance which stood in every 
church. In some instances they broke it down ; in others 
they gravely took their seat upon it during the time of sermon, 
to show their scorn for what they considered as the Presby- 
terian ordinance of penance. 2 Of course, as often as they be- 
lieved themselves moved, they preached, to the great horror of 
the regularly ordained presbyters. But these things were 
trifles, and did not seriously wound the religious feelings of 

1 Lament's Diary. Baillie's Letters, vol. iii. p. 225. It is in an in- 
teresting letter to Mr Calamy that Baillie gives an account of this matter. 
The Assembly made one more attempt to meet, but were dispersed before 
they were constituted. 

2 Lamont's Diary. Peterkin, p. 656. 

A.D. 1652-8.] THE PURITAN ARMY. 7 5 

the people. The strict military discipline which was engrafted 
on their puritanic piety, prevented them from running into 
many excesses, or trampling on the rights of the nation they 
had conquered. A few stray notices in our session records 
show that they were men of like passions with ourselves, and 
that the sternness of their virtue sometimes yielded to the 
fascinations of Covenanted maidens. But in general they 
were well-behaved and exemplary, and perhaps never did 
another victorious army use its power with such moderation. 
Scotland, instead of being beggared, was enriched by the in- 
vasion of Cromwell. 

The bitterness which existed between the Resolutioners and 
Protesters increased instead of abating. The Resolutioners 
embraced the great majority of the clergy; but the Protesters, 
from affecting a greater fervour of devotion, were the greatest 
favourites with the people. They were peculiarly vehement in 
their sermons and prayers, and spoke as if they were ventrilo- 
quists, or, to give the description of Baillie, they had "a 
strange kind of sighing, the like whereof I had never heard, as 
a pythonising out of the belly of a second person." l The 
people responded to their preaching by groans and sighs. 
They ordained that the sacrament of the Supper should be 
dispensed every month ; but in general they cut off one-half of 
the communicants as unworthy, and in some cases where the 
magistrates or principal men were esteemed guilty of what was 
called defection, they gave the communion to none. It is to 
these Protesters we owe our sacramental fasts \ for such days of 
fasting were unknown to their time. On the fast-day, sermon 
after sermon was kept up for eight or ten hours together. On 
the Saturday, two or three preparation-sermons were preached. 
On the Sunday the solemn services were protracted during 
the whole day. On the Monday, three or four thanksgiving- 
sermons concluded the season devoted to communion. On 
such occasions eight or ten ministers were brought together, 
and the services of all were required. The people flocked in 
crowds from the neighbouring parishes, till the church could 
not hold them, and they were compelled to meet in the 
churchyard ; and those scenes were begun which continued 
almost to this day, but which now, under the sting of the 
satirist and the good sense of the community, have all but dis- 
appeared. 2 

1 Letters, &c., vol. iii. p. 245. 

2 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 6j. Kirkton's History, pp. 54, 55. 
Baillie's Letters, &c., vol. iii. 


In those districts of the country where the Protesters were 
numerous the wranglings in the church courts were interminable 
and intolerable. In some instances the two factions broke off 
from one another, and constituted themselves into separate 
courts. The Protesters had the greater antipathy to the king, 
and the greater favour for the Commonwealth ; and therefore 
they could always count upon the support of the Lord Pro- 
tector and his troopers. They deposed some ministers who 
were not like-minded with themselves ; with the help of the 
soldiery they intruded others upon parishes, against the united 
will of the heritors and people. Several of their leaders 
managed to secure lucrative places for themselves in the 
principal universities, and Resolutioners were turned out to 
make way for them. The Resolutioners retaliated where they 
could. Altogether, the condition of the country was sad 
enough. Unchristian animosities reigned in the Church ; 
English garrisons held the forts ; and the nobility were almost 
to a man overwhelmed in debt ; many were in prison, and 
many in hiding. Burnet says of Lord Traquair, once Lord 
Treasurer of the kingdom — " I saw him brought so low that 
he wanted bread, and was forced to beg, and it was believed 
he died of hunger." 1 

Some poetic chroniclers have depicted this as the golden 
age in the history of our Church's piety. " Then was Scotland," 
says Kirkton, " a heap of wheat set about with lilies, uniform, 
or a palace of silver beautifully proportioned, and this seems 
to me to have been Scotland's high noon." Not an oath, 
we are told, was to be heard ; not a child was to be found but 
could read its Bible ; not a family in which the worship of God 
was not observed. 2 Unfortunately we are awakened from this 
pleasing dream to the reality of things by stubborn facts which 
cannot be gainsaid. We read in another chronicle of a man 
being scourged at the Cross of Edinburgh for such an accu- 
mulation of debaucheries as, we would fain hope, is unknown 
in our day ; 3 we read of a noble lord dying a bachelor, and 
yet leaving sixty-seven descendants behind him ; 4 we read 
of an ordinance forbidding females to serve in taverns, on 

1 Baillie's Letters, passim, 1654-5, vol. iii. Burnet, vol. i. p. 22. 

2 Kirkton's History, pp. 48-50. 

:i Lamont's Diary. "Feb. 1650. About the same tyme, ther was one 
scourged by the hangman for having seven women at one tyme with 

4 Balfour's Annals, vol. iii. p. 423. He refers to Patrick Lesley, Lord 


account of the scandals which had arisen from such fair 
servitors waiting upon drunken men ; l and in all the ecclesi- 
astical records of the time we have very many and very sad 
proofs that vice was still known in the land. Ignorance 
was known too ; and in some districts the ability to read 
appears to have been the exception rather than the rule. 2 

At the same time it is quite certain that religion of a kind 
had taken a firm hold upon the popular mind. The ministers, 
in general, were come of respectable families, were possessed 
of a fair share of learning, and were entirely devoted to their 
pastoral work. By their preaching and by their catechizing 
they laid the foundation of that almost universal intelligence in 
regard to religious subjects which is still characteristic of the 
Scottish people. The religious excitement of the period in- 
fected all, and we may be sure that the subjects debated in 
presbyteries and synods between Remonstrants, Protesters, 
and Resolutioners, or in garrison towns between Anabaptists, 
Ranters, and Quakers, were debated too at the firesides of the 
peasantry. The religious development in the national cranium 
became larger than ever \ and opinions and observances still 
alive had then their birth. But with all this vitality, there 
was an utter want of that loving, liberal spirit which is the 
highest phase of the religious life. Some of the worst bigotries 
which have come down to the present day were then born. 

On the 3d of September 1658 the great Protector of England 
breathed his last ; and the sovereign power which he had won 
and retained by the sword passed into the hands of his eldest 
son. But Richard Cromwell was not a man to keep in awe 
the strong spirits which twenty years of civil war and military 
rule had evoked \ and, after a few months of precarious 
authority, he ungrudgingly resigned the supreme power, and 
retired into private life. The government of the country again 
passed into the hands of a military junto, — every ambitious 
officer began to dream he might be king, — and anarchy and 
despotism were likely to be the result. General Monk, in 
Scotland, beheld what was passing in London, and keeping 

1 Nichol's Diary, March 1650. Lord Loudon and Samuel Rutherford 
did not escape suspicion. 

2 In the Record of the Presbytery of Perth, 28th March 1649, there is 
the following significant entry: — "List of the families wherein some of 
them can read within the following parishes — viz., Scone, 25 ; Drone, 
36 ; Dumbarny, 55 ; St Madoes, 9 ; Rhind, 25 ; Kinnoul, 18 ; St Martin's, 
13; Redgorton, 9 ; Arngask, 16; Abernethy, 100." (See Peterkin's 
Records. ) 


his counsel to himself, began his march southwards in the 
month of November 1659, to decide that Charles should sit 
upon the throne, as the legions stationed in Gaul had anciently 
determined, on more occasions than one, who should wear 
the imperial purple at Rome. 


General Monk had hardly reached London when James 
Sharp, minister of Crail, and professor of theology at St 
Andrews, began his journey thither, commissioned by some of 
the leading Scotch ministers to watch over the interests of 
their Church at this crisis in the country's fate. He regu- 
larly reported his proceedings to Robert Douglas, at that 
period the man most respected of all in the Church of Scot- 
land. From his letters, we find him at one time closeted with 
Monk ; at another, visiting members of parliament ; at another, 
talking over their prospects with the Presbyterian ministers of 
London ; and then, about the beginning of May, starting for 
Breda to offer his congratulations to Charles on his being pro- 
claimed King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. By his first 
instructions he was requested to press the covenanted uni- 
formity of religion between the two nations 5 * as the English 
Parliament, before its dissolution, had once more declared for 
the Westminster Confession, and ordered the Solemn League 
and Covenant to be set up in every church, and read by the 
minister once every year. But when the new parliament met, 
it soon became apparent that the face of things would be 
changed. The tide of feeling in favour of Episcopacy now 
rose so high that it was evident it would soon overflow all 
England. Sharp intimated this to his friends, but he suggests 
no suspicion that it might probably be extended to Scotland. 2 
England, wearied of the Commonwealth, clamoured for a 
king as earnestly as did Israel when tired of its Judges ; and 
God sent them Charles, a greater plague than ever was Saul 
to the Jews. The parliament had it in its power to have 
limited the monarchy; and the man who had accepted the 

1 This is not mentioned in his formal instructions, but it is referred to 
in his correspondence with Douglas. (See the Introduction to Wodrow's 

2 These letters are happily preserved. 

A.D. 1660.] THE RESTORATION. 79 

crown of Scotland upon such humiliating terms would have 
submitted to any conditions which England chose to dictate. 
But the nation was drunk with a Royalist joy ; and after 
having bought its liberty with its blood at Marston and 
Worcester, it now willingly gave itself back into slavery. On 
the 29th of May 1660, Charles II. entered London in triumph ; 
and the Londoners were once more pleased with the pageant 
of royalty. Capital cities, though sometimes seized with 
revolutionary spasms, are in general attached to monarchy; 
for they witness the splendour of courts, and feed upon the 
crumbs which fall from imperial tables. It is in villages and 
towns that democracy and republicanism are to be found. 

Scotland had ever been loyal. It had been deprived of its 
king, but it had never renounced him, and had submitted with 
reluctance to the domination of the Protector. It was meet, 
therefore, that it should rejoice. The 19th of June was kept 
at Edinburgh as a day of thanksgiving for the Restoration. 
The sermons were followed by banqueting and bonfires. At 
the Cross a table was spread for the magistrates ; and barrels 
of wine were poured forth, and three hundred dozen of glasses 
were smashed in drinking the kings health. The Castle-hill 
had its display of fire-works ; and, to the great delight of the 
citizens, in the midst of these was seen Oliver Cromwell pur- 
sued by the devil; and the delight was increased when both 
Cromwell and the devil were blown into the air. 1 The other 
towns of Scotland imitated the loyalty of the metropolis. Such 
a loyal country deserved a loving king. 

The Scottish nobles hastened to London to pay their re- 
spects to the king ; and among these went Argyll. He had 
long been the leading man among the Covenanters — he had 
commanded their armies and guided their councils ; but still 
he had placed the Scottish crown upon Charles's head. As 
soon as it was known that he was in London, he was seized, 
and committed to the Tower. This was upon the 8th of 
July; and upon the 14th orders came down to Major-General 
Morgan, commanding in Scotland, to secure Sir James Stuart, 
the provost of Edinburgh, Sir Archibald Johnston of Warris- 
ton, and Sir John Chiesly of Carswell. Stuart and Chiesly 
were got hold of; but Warriston fled, and a reward was offered 
for his apprehension. 2 This was the beginning of sorrows. 

The Earl of Glencairn was now raised to the office of chan- 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 62. 

2 Kirkton's History, p. 70. Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 63, 64. 


cellor of the kingdom, and the government entrusted to the 
Committee of Estates nominated by the parliament of 1651, 
On the 23d of August the committee held its first meeting 
under the presidency of Glencairn. On the same day a 
number of ministers of the Remonstrant party, among whom 
was James Guthrie, met in a private house in Edinburgh, to 
draw up a supplication to be laid before the king, congratu- 
lating him upon his restoration, expressing their unfeigned 
loyalty, putting him in mind of his own and the nation's 
Covenant with the Lord, hinting that if it were broken curses 
would follow, begging him to banish popery, prelacy, and 
sectarianism from his own house and from the whole king- 
dom, and praying that his reign might be like that of David, 
Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah. By an order from the 
Committee of Estates, all assembled were arrested, and sent 
prisoners to the Castle. 1 

On the last day of August Sharp arrived from London, 
bringing with him a letter from the king. It was directed 
to Douglas, to be communicated to the Presbytery of Edin- 
burgh. On the 3d September the presbytery met, and the 
king's letter was read. In this document Charles declared, 
— " We do resolve to protect and preserve the government 
of the Church of Scotland as it is settled by law, without 
violation, and to countenance in the due exercise of their 
functions all such ministers who shall behave themselves 
dutifully and peaceably, as becomes men of their calling. 
We will also take care that the authority and acts of the 
General Assembly at St Andrews and Dundee, 165 1, be 
owned and stand in force until we shall call another General 
Assembly (which we purpose to do as soon as our affairs will 
permit) ; and we do intend to send for Mr Robert Douglas 
and some other ministers, that we may speak with them 
in what may further concern the affairs of the Church." 
Nothing could have been more satisfactory than this letter. 
The Presbytery of Edinburgh accordingly ordered copies of 
it to be transmitted to all the presbyteries of the Church, as 
being of public concern, and appointed a committee to write 
the king expressing their thankfulness. They went further — 
they purchased a silver box in which they enshrined the pre- 
cious document. 2 

1 Kirkton's History, p. 73. Burnet's History of his Own Times, vol. i. 
pp. 121, 122. 

2 Kirkton, p. 75. Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 80, 81. 

A.D. 1660-61.] CHANGED TIMES. 8 1 

During the autumn of the year, several ministers were cast 
into prison for sentiments which they were alleged to have 
uttered in the pulpit ; and it was felt that a change was 
approaching. In fact, a change was already come. The 
nobility had hitherto stood fast by the Church ; but when 
they returned from court, to which most of them had resorted, 
their talk was no longer of the obligations of the Covenant, 
but of the claims of the law. Nor were their manners 
improved. The Presbyterian chronicler declares that one 
would have thought they had been in another world, where 
men change their genius for the worse. 1 Most of the clergy, 
too, had come down from the high ground which they once 
occupied ; ten years of bitterness had given to their feelings a 
more healthy tone ; but there is no foundation for the belief 
that any considerable number of them sought for peace in the 
bosom of Episcopacy. 

On the last day of the year the Earl of Middleton came 
down to Scotland as Royal Commissioner. He was a soldier 
of fortune ; had served under both Covenanting and Royalist 
banners, and had the rough manners, imperious ways, and 
violent temper of the soldiers of those days. 

On the ist of January 1661 the parliament met. Accord- 
ing to the laudable custom of the realm, there was a 
" riding;" and "there," says Kirkton, " you might have seen 
them who some weeks before were companions to owls, 
hiding themselves from messengers pursuing them for debt, 
vapouring in scarlet and ermine, upon good hopes to be all 
men of gold." 2 The parliament proved itself as compliant as 
Scottish parliaments w r ere wont to be. It was as industrious 
as parliament could be. In its first session it passed sixty- 
four acts relating to public affairs. It bowed itself before the 
prerogative, strengthened it by laws, and framed an oath of 
allegiance which any person might be .required to swear, 
acknowledging the king to be supreme over all persons and 
in all causes. It forbade the Covenant to be renewed. It 
appointed the 29th of May to be kept in all time coming as a 
holiday, in memory of his Majesty's restoration — a thing 
hateful to the Presbyterians, who abominated all holidays 
together. But if this parliament could make laws, it could 
also unmake them. It passed with wonderful unanimity the 
famous Rescissory Act, by which it destroyed at one fell 

1 Kirkton, pp. 77, 78. - Ibid. p. 87. 



swoop all the legislation of the last twenty-seven years. 1 
The effect of this act was, that the Presbyterian polity ceased 
to be the polity of the Established Church, and the old laws 
in favour of Episcopacy came into force. This was seen and 
designed ; but his Majesty, " sensible of the mercies of 
Almighty God toward him, and desirous to improve these 
mercies to the glory of God and honour of His great name," 
passed an act declaring that he would make it his care " to 
settle the government of the Church in such a frame as 
should be most agreeable to the Word of God, most suitable 
to the monarchical government, and most complying with the 
public peace and quiet of the kingdom ; and in the meantime 
allowed the present administration by sessions, presbyteries, 
and synods." 2 

The men who did these things were the same men who a few 
years before had borne aloft the banners of the Covenant. 
Never have an aristocracy presented a meaner spectacle — 
ready to sacrifice religion, country, everything for place, and 
pelf, and power. But there was another inconsistency of a 
less and more ludicrous kind. This same parliament passed 
acts against Sabbath profanation, swearing, and drunkenness, 
and yet it was known among the people by the name of 
" Middleton's Drinking Parliament." Burnet tells that the 
Rescissory Act was first suggested as a joke, and afterwards 
resolved upon at a drinking bout. This cannot be altogether 
true : it is clear that it had been planned in London, but it is 
probable its proposers in Scotland stimulated their courage by 
drink. Kirkton declares that the Royal Commissioner some- 
times came to the Parliament House in such a state, that after 
some significant whispering among the members, the president 
was obliged to make some pretence to adjourn. The moral 
laws of the legislature were unheeded, but its immoral example 
extended to all ranks. It was thought necessary now to get 
drunk, and swear, and brawl, and fight, to prove one's self 
a loyal subject. The nation swung violently from the austerities 
of the Covenant to the most reckless and unprincipled dissipa- 

The Presbyterian clergy saw the Rescissory Act passed into 
a law with alarm ; but most of them were afraid to speak out, 
for the palmy days of plain speaking were gone. However, 
the Church did not allow herself to be robbed of her privileges 

1 See Murray's Collection of the Acts of the Scottish Parliament. 

2 Ibid. 


in silence. The Presbytery of Edinburgh, and the Synods of 
Glasgow and Galloway, remonstrated against the overthrow of 
the Church's polity. In some cases the proceedings of the 
ecclesiastical courts were disturbed and overborne by nobles 
commissioned by the parliament \ l in all cases, men's hearts 
were failing them for fear. 

Toward the close of 1660 the Marquis of Argyll had been 
brought down from the Tower, and committed to the Castle 
of Edinburgh. On the 15th of February 1661 he was brought 
to the bar of the parliament, accused of high treason. His 
indictment consisted of fourteen articles, and related chiefly 
to his conduct during the period of the civil wars and the 
Commonwealth, his burning the house of Airlie, besieging the 
Castle of Dumbarton, delivering the king to the English at 
Newcastle, protesting against the Engagement, consenting to 
the murder of the Marquis of Montrose, corresponding with 
Cromwell, sitting in his parliament, advising him that his only 
safety lay in putting the king to death. Argyll denied some 
of the charges brought against him ; and in regard to the 
others, pleaded that he acted under the orders of the Com- 
mittee of Estates, or that his conduct was covered by the 
king's Act of Indemnity. It was certain that he had taken 
a part in the civil wars, and that he had acknowledged the 
Commonwealth ; but the same thing was true of almost every 
man in the kingdom. It was true of Monk, who had restored 
Charles to the throne \ it was true of Middleton, who acted as 
the royal commissioner; it was true of the advocate who 
conducted the prosecution ; it was true of most of those who 
sat on the judgment-seat while Argyll stood at the bar. Was 
it fair that the one should be punished, while the others were 
honoured? Might not Charles have forgotten all and for- 
given all, and felt that his throne was firmer because it was 
founded upon mercy ? But he was not the man to do this ; 
and Argyll was singled out as the victim, to suffer for the sins 
of the whole nation. 

On the 25th of May he received his sentence. The house 
was very thin, for all seemed anxious to wash their hands of 
his blood except the minions of the government. Kneeling 
at the bar, he heard the horrid doom of the traitor pronounced 
upon him, and then quietly said, "I had the honour to set 
the crown upon the king's head, and now he hastens me 
away to a better crown than his own." From this moment 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. 


his character appears to be changed. From being so timid 
that he skulked from the battle-field, he now looked forward 
to his fate with the most perfect composure ; and when we 
visit his dungeon, we feel ourselves in the presence of the 
martyr about to die for his religion, and not of the rebel 
about to suffer for his crimes. When going to the scaffold, he 
remarked, " I could die like a Roman, but I choose rather to 
die like a Christian ;" and like a Christian he did die. 1 

But justice was not yet appeased, and another life must be 
taken. James Guthrie, the minister of Stirling, was brought 
up for trial on the 20th of February, charged with high 
treason. He was accused of taking a leading part in the 
western Remonstrance ; of publishing a seditious book, en- 
titled " The Causes of God's Wrath ; " of writing and subscrib- 
ing a paper, called " The Humble Petition" of the 23d of 
August last ; of convocating the king's lieges on several 
occasions, without warrant or authority ; and of declining the 
king as his judge in regard to sentiments uttered in the pulpit. 
For these things he was condemned to die. It was a cruel 
sentence. Guthrie certainly held extreme opinions in religious 
matters, and a man's religion in those days was not different 
from his politics ; but surely he had done nothing worthy of 
death. One thing, however, he had done, which may be the 
secret of his end : he had pronounced a sentence of excom- 
munication on Middleton, and it was thought by many that 
private malice had sharpened the edge of public justice. 
Guthrie died as became him. He addressed the crowd for an 
hour from the ladder, and took God to record that he would 
not exchange his scaffold for the palace and mitre of the 
greatest prelate in Britain. 2 The vindictiveness of the apos- 
tate government of Charles has exalted the mere fanatic into a 
hero, and given him a place in history which otherwise he does 
not deserve. 3 

The manes of the dead Charles and the wounded honour 
of the living one had now had two victims sacrificed to them 
— one of the leading nobles, and one of the leading ministers. 
It seemed as if it had been designed to strike terror into all 

1 Crookshank's History of the Church of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 81-90. 
See also "Napthali, or the Wrestlings of the Church of Scotland," 
Wodrow, Kirkton, &c. 

2 Napthali, p. 222. Wodrow. 

:{ Baillie's Letters, &c, vol. iv. p. 467. It was thus he was regarded by 
the more sensible men of his own day. " Though few approved his way, 
yet many were grieved to see a minister so severely used." 

A.D. 1661.] MORE HANGING. 85 

by these two terrible examples. But still another life was 
taken. One Govan was hanged at the same time as Guthrie. 
He was charged with being on the scaffold when Charles was 
beheaded ; but this he is said to have clearly disproved. He 
had, however, borne arms with the Remonstrants, and that 
was enough. His fate exhibits the caprices of fortune in the 
midst of anarchy. " The Commissioner and I," said he, when 
standing under the gibbet, " went out to the fields together 
for one cause. I have now the cord about my neck, and he 
is promoted to be his Majesty's Commissioner ; yet for a 
thousand worlds I would not change lots with him ! " x 

It is probable that Samuel Rutherford would have shared 
the fate of Guthrie had not death anticipated the hangman. 
His " I, ex Rex " was burned by the hands of the executioner. 
Patrick Gillespie was saved by powerful friends and humili- 
ating retractations. 2 Other ministers were driven from their 
parishes, or cast into prison, or banished the kingdom, and 
none knew but that his turn might come next. It was upon 
the Remonstrant and Protesting party that the blow fell 
heaviest, for they had held the most violent opinions. A bribe, 
however, could do much. The Lord Advocate was notoriously 
open to corruption ; and a purse of gold, seasonably pre- 
sented, had a magic power in averting a prosecution. 3 

Something must now be done toward settling the govern- 
ment of the Church. The parliament had left this matter in 
the hands of the king, and the king took the opinion of such 
of his Scotch counsellors as were then in London. It was im- 
portant to ascertain the feelings of the nation. Middleton 
declared that the larger and more intelligent portion of the 
community were in favour of Episcopacy ; Sharp, who had 
now ratted, declared that none but the* Protesters were against 
it ; Lauderdale, on the other hand, assured the king that the 
national prejudice against it was still very strong, and that he 
would do well to be cautious, if he would retain the affections 
of his Scottish subjects. He recommended delay. The Earl 
of Crawford recommended that the attempt to introduce 
Episcopacy should be abandoned for ever. The Earl of 

1 "Wodrow, vol. i. 

2 "Mr Rutherford, had not death prevented, was in the same hazard. 
Mr Gillespie had gone the same gate, had not his friends persuaded him 
to recant his Remonstrance, Protestation, compliance with the English, 
and to petition the king and parliament for mercy," &a (Raillie's Letters, 
&C, vol. iv. p. 467.) 

3 Kirkton's History. 


Clarendon and the Duke of Ormonde, unfortunately, took the 
side of Sharp, and argued that it would be difficult to main- 
tain Episcopacy in Ireland if Presbytery were continued in 
Scotland. 1 Their arguments fell in with the king's humour, 
who had forgotten his subscription to the Covenant, and the 
many solemn promises he had given to maintain Presbytery, 
but who still had some unpleasant reminiscences of his sojourn 
among the Presbyterians. It was resolved that the thing should 
be done immediately. The throne was strong ; the loyalty of 
the nation was strong ; and turbulent spirits would be kept in 
awe by the recent executions of Guthrie and Argyll, and the 
ominous fact that no act of indemnity had yet been passed. 

On the 5th of September the Lord Chancellor presented to 
the Scottish Privy Council a letter from his Majesty, referring 
to ecclesiastical affairs. It began — " Whereas, in the month 
of August 1660, we did, by our letter to the Presbytery of 
Edinburgh, declare our purpose to maintain the government of 
the Church of Scotland settled by law ; and our parliament 
having since that time not only rescinded all the acts since the 
troubles began referring to that government, but also declared 
all those pretended parliaments null and void, and left to us 
the settling and securing of Church government ; therefore 
. . . we have, after mature deliberation, declared to those 
of your Council here our firm resolution to interpose our royal 
authority for restoring of that Church to its right government 
by bishops, as it was by law before the late troubles, during 
the reigns of our royal father and grandfather of blessed 
memory, and as it now stands settled by law." 2 A more un- 
blushing composition never proceeded from a royal pen. The 
king, if now resolved to force Episcopacy upon the nation, 
should have been discreetly silent in regard to his letter to the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh. In that letter he either promised to 
establish Presbytery or he did not. If he did, why should he 
now, by a low juggle, attempt to put a different meaning upon 
it? 3 If he did not, why should he have used language so 

1 Burnet's History, vol. i. pp. 142, 143. M'Kenzie gives a similar 
account of this matter. (See his History.) 

2 Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 230. 

8 The following extract of a letter from the Earl of Lauderdale to 
Robert Douglas, dated 23d October 1660, seems to make it quite certain 
that the king did not at first intend to meddle with Presbytery : — "As to 
the concerns of our Mother Kirk," says Lauderdale, " I can only promise 
my faithful endeavours in what be for our good ; and, indeed, it is no 
small comfort to me, in serving my master, to find that his Majesty is so 


capable of misconstruction ? Why should he have promised 
a General Assembly ? Why should he have promised to send 
for Douglas? Did he doubt the construction which the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh had put upon it, when they enclosed 
it in a silver shrine, and with grateful hearts wrote him a letter 
of thanks ; and could he now contemplate with satisfaction the 
cheat he had put upon them? The whole transaction gives a 
full revelation of the unprincipled character of the man. 

The Privy Council framed an act echoing the royal letter ; 
this was proclaimed at the market-cross, amidst the flourish of 
trumpets, 1 and the deed was done which for the next twenty- 
seven years was to let loose upon unhappy Scotland all the 
horrors of persecution. Had the king been wise, he would 
have given to Scotland the church polity which its people 
loved ; and he would have seen then, what has since been 
abundantly proved, that Presbytery is perfectly compatible 
with monarchy. The fever of the first Covenanting period had 
abated, the delirium was gone, and Douglas and his brethren 
were exhibiting a moderation of sentiment which would have 
avoided the excesses of which Presbytery had sometimes been 
guilty, and ensured peace to the people and stability to the 
throne. There would have been a Church embracing the 
nation, in which the doctrine of passive obedience might not 
have been preached, but in which a warm loyalty would cer- 
tainly be cherished. But instead of attaching to himself the 
ardour of Presbytery, Charles stung it into antagonism, and set 
up a form of polity which the people from their cradle had 
been taught to believe was no better than Popery. 

The old race of bishops had died out. Only Sydserf 
remained. It was needful, therefore, that new bishops 
should be found. Up to this period Sharp had kept his 

fixt in his resolution not to alter anything in the government of that 
Church ; of this you may be confident, though I dare not answer but that 
some would be willing enough to have it otherwise. I dare not doubt 
of the honest ministers continuing in giving constant testimonies of their 
duty to the king (and your letter confirms me in giving these hopes) ; and 
they doing their duty I dare answer for the king, having of late had full 
contentment in discoursing with his Majesty on that subject. His Majesty 
hath told me that he intends to call a General Assembly, and I have 
drawn a proclamation for that purpose, but the day is not yet resolved on. 
The proclamation shall, I think, come down with my Lord Treasurer, 
who says he will take journey this week." (This letter will be found in 
the Memoir of Baillie attached to the Bannatyne Edition of his Letters 
and Journals.) 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 231. 




secret, though there is reason to believe that even when he 
was acting in London as the agent of the Resolutioners he 
had pledged himself to Prelacy. He now threw off his dis- 
guise. He called upon Douglas, and told him that the 
king was anxious he should accept the Archbishopric of St 
Andrews. Douglas replied that he would have nothing to do 
with it. After some further conversation, Sharp rose to leave, 
and Douglas accompanied him to the door. " James," said 
the incorruptible to the corrupted, at parting, " I see you will 
engage, I perceive you are clear, you will be Bishop of St 
Andrews ; take it, and the curse of God with it !" So saying, 
he shut the door upon him. 1 This Robert Douglas was one 
of the most remarkable men of the day. He had served as a 
chaplain in the army of Gustavus Adolphus, and on leaving, 
the great king had remarked of him that he had so much 
prudence that he might be counsellor to any prince in 
Europe, and so much military skill that he would freely 
entrust his whole army to his conduct. At this time he was 
the man of the greatest influence among the moderate party 
in the Church. He had been moderator of the Assembly, 
and preached the sermon at the coronation of the king. He 
was, moreover, of a peculiarly noble presence ; and the interest 
attached to his person was increased by mysterious whispers 
(no doubt unfounded) that he was the grandson of George 
Douglas of Lochleven, and that his grandmother was the captive 
queen. It was felt that if he were gained the cause was won. 
Something more was necessary than to find the men. The 
apostolical succession had been lost, and it must be restored : 
the ministerial character had ceased to exist in Scotland, and 
it must be sought for elsewhere. Once before had England 
bestowed upon her sister country this great boon, and she 
must do it again. In the month of December Sharp, 
Fairfowl, Hamilton, and Leighton met in London, to receive 
episcopal consecration. They were all Presbyterian ministers. 
We are already, in some measure, acquainted with Sharp. 
He was a man of some learning ; but his chief characteristic 
was the caution with which he formed his opinions, and the 
industry with which he followed them out. Fairfowl is 
described as a facetious man, ready to turn everything into 
a joke. He was reproached with having signed the Cove- 
nant against his conscience. " There are some very good 

1 Kirk ton's History, 
vol. i. p. 228. 

P- l 35*] See also Douglas's Letter in Wodrow, 

a.d. 1661.] BISHOP LEIGHTON. 89 

medicines," said he, " that must be swallowed at once with- 
out being chewed." l Hamilton is said to have been a good- 
natured man, but neither very brilliant nor very learned. 
His chief recommendation seems to have been that he was 
brother to Lord Belhaven. It is affirmed that he always had 
a secret attachment to Episcopacy, but was obliged to coun- 
terfeit a zeal for the Covenant. 

Leighton deserves to be more particularly mentioned, as 
the one saint common to the Episcopal and Presbyterian 
Churches. 2 He was the son of that Dr Leighton who, in 
Archbishop Laud's time, had written " Zion's Plea against 
Prelacy." For the authorship of this book he was sentenced 
to be committed to the Fleet during life ; to pay a fine of 
;£i 0,000 ; to be carried to the pillory at Westminster, and 
there whipped ; and after whipping to be set in the pillory, 
have one of his ears cut off, one side of his nose slit, and be 
branded on the one cheek with the letters S. S. (sower of 
sedition) ; and a week afterwards to be taken to Cheapside 
pillory, and have the brutal punishment repeated, by having 
his other cheek branded, the other side of his nose slit, and 
his remaining ear cut off. All this torture he endured, and 
was liberated from prison only when the Long Parliament 
came into power. This, one should have thought, was 
enough to have given the Leightons a hatred of Episcopacy 
to the tenth generation, but families exhibit singular changes 
of faith. Robert Leighton was born in 161 1, reared as a 
Presbyterian, and became minister of Newbattle, and after- 
wards professor of divinity in Edinburgh. Almost every 
contemporary describes him as one of the most perfect of 
men ; and notwithstanding the unhappy circumstances with 
which he was mixed up, we still fondly regard him as the 
Fenelon of the Scottish Church. He was a fine scholar, a 
most persuasive preacher, and one of the kindest and gentlest 
of men. Living in an age of fierce polemical strife, he raised 
himself above its dust and its din, and dwelt in a purer and 
higher world of his own. His works still remain to benefit 
the world ; and we cannot read a page without discerning the 
beauty of holiness. But why should such a man have given 
the lustre of his great name to so unholy a cause? The 
truth is, he had fixed his thoughts so intently on the essential 
doctrines of Christianity that he had come to regard all forms 
of church government as indifferent. He had no sympathy 
1 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 146. 2 Dean Stanley, Lecture iii. 


either with the bishop pleading for the Divine right of Epis- 
copacy, or the presbyter maintaining the Divine right of Pres- 
byterianism. The narrow bigotry and fierce intolerance of 
the Covenanters had estranged him from them — he had not 
so learned Christ. He was in this state of mind when it was 
determined to set up Episcopacy in Scotland ; and his 
brother, who, strange enough ! was a Papist, obtained his 
nomination to a bishopric ; and he accepted it in the vain 
hope that he would do good. We must pronounce that in 
this he did wrong ; for he lent his piety and worth to one 
of the blackest attempts to violate the religious convictions 
of a nation which history records; but even Leighton was not 

Fairfowl and Hamilton had been ordained under the old 
Episcopate, and therefore their orders were regarded as good 
by English Churchmen. But Sharp and Leighton had re- 
ceived their ordination since 1638, and in the unapostolic mode, 
by " the laying on of the hands of the presbytery ; " and there- 
fore the Bishop of London insisted that they must be made 
deacons and priests before they could be consecrated as 
bishops. Sharp remonstrated warmly against this, and pleaded 
the case of Archbishop Spottiswood, and those who had been 
consecrated with him. Leighton took matters easier. He 
thought that every Church might make such rules as it pleased 
in regard to ordination, and that his re-ordination was nothing 
more than the ceremony by which he was admitted a minister 
of the Episcopal Church. As the English bishops were posi- 
tive, Sharp had to yield ; and he and Leighton were privately 
ordained, first deacons and then priests. This done, all the 
four were publicly consecrated in Westminster Abbey. 1 

fifi After the consecration there was an episcopal 

feast, and the serious-minded Leighton was some- 
what shocked at the jollity which prevailed. He tried to 
engage Sharp in earnest conversation, and to learn his ideas 
as to the possibility of uniting the Presbyterians with them, by 
some such modified Episcopacy as Archbishop Usher had 
proposed ; but he soon found that Sharp had no ideas upon 
the subject at all. He next tried Fairfowl, but Fairfowl met 
him only with a joke or a humorous story. " By these means," 
says Burnet, " Leighton quickly lost all heart and hope." 2 

Sharp had purchased a splendid coach, and hired a couple 
of lackeys to run at its side, clothed in purple, that he might 

1 Burnet, vol. i. Wodrow, vol. i. 2 Burnet, vol. i. p. 154. 


travel in a state befitting the primate of Scotland. 1 He in- 
vited his brethren to join him in his chariot, and they began 
their journey to Scotland together. It was then a long 
journey, generally occupying more than a week ; and before 
it was done Leighton had got heartily tired of his companions, 
and besides, perceived that they were equally wearied of him. 
He, moreover, had learned that a triumphal entry into Edin- 
burgh was designed, from which his retiring nature sensitively 
shrunk, and therefore he parted company with his episcopal 
coadjutors at Morpeth, and pursued the remainder of his 
journey alone. Sharp, Fairfowl, and Hamilton were received 
at Edinburgh by the magistrates and nobility, conducted in 
procession through the city, and sumptuously feasted by the 
Commissioner and Chancellor. 2 

While the bishops were yet in England, the Scottish Privy 
Council, in compliance with a letter from the king, published 
an order forbidding synods, presbyteries, or kirk-sessions to 
meet till they should be authorized by the archbishops and 
bishops of the Church. 3 Thus, once again was the Presbyte- 
rian polity put down. Charles, in this step, had gone farther 
than either his father or grandfather. James had attempted 
to engraft Episcopacy upon Presbytery ; Charles attempted to 
eradicate Presbytery altogether. James had introduced bishops 
only as the permanent moderators of the presbyteries ; Charles 
now interdicted presbyteries from meeting at all, till they 
should be reorganised as bishops' courts. Presbytery, how- 
ever, showed itself possessed of a vitality which could not be 
altogether destroyed. 

The four bishops who had received in England the apos- 
tolic gift now set themselves to communicate it to others. 
With much parade, and according to the forms of the English 
Church, men were consecrated to the remaining sees. Edin- 
burgh was kept vacant for some time, in the hope that 
Douglas would accept of it ; but he remained immovable, and 
it was ultimately bestowed upon Wishart, the biographer of 
Montrose, an able and kind-hearted man. 

On the 8th of May 1662 the second session of Charles's 
first parliament began. Its first act was for " the restitution 
and re-establishment of the ancient government of the Church 
by archbishops and bishops." By this act all the laws in 

1 Baillie's Letters, &c., vol. iii. p. 485. 

2 Baillie's Letters, &c., vol. iii. p. 485. Burnet, vol. i. 

3 Wodrow, vol. i. p. 249. 


favour of the Presbyterian polity, especially the. Charter Act 
of 1592, were rescinded; the bishops were reinstated in all 
the rights and privileges which they possessed previous to 
1638, and authorized to take upon themselves the whole 
government of the Church, "with advice and assistance of 
such of the clergy as they should find to be of known loyalty 
and prudence," being responsible for their administration only 
to the king. This act being passed, it was thought meet that 
the bishops should be invited to take their seats as one of the 
Estates of the realm. Accordingly a deputation, consisting of 
two noblemen, two barons, and two burgesses, waited upon 
them at the lodgings of the primate in the Netherbow, where 
they were assembled, and escorted them, with all worship, to 
their places in the Parliament House. 1 

Legislation went on with increased briskness now that the 
episcopal bench was filled. An act was passed " for preserva- 
tion of his Majesty's person, authority, and government," 
under which pretence the Covenants were declared to be 
treasonable; all leagues among subjects, upon any pretence, 
were pronounced to be unlawful, and the slightest whisper 
against the present order of things was made a punishable 
offence. In the same spirit a declaration was framed, which 
all who were in any public trust were required to sign, in 
which they abjured the Covenants, and declared it to be their 
opinion that they were unlawful and seditious. 2 Thus every 
man in a public office was compelled to perjure himself, and 
renounce, at the bidding of his king, what he had solemnly 
sworn in the presence of his God. Had Charles been wise, 
the Covenants would have passed away with the circumstances 
that called them forth, without the aid of such despotic laws. 

But the act which was followed by the most important 
results was one entitled, " An act concerning such benefices 
and stipends as have been possessed without presentations 
from the lawful patrons." In explanation of this, it must be 
told that the parliament of 1649 had passed an act abolishing 
patronage ; and the Assembly, following it up, had vested the 
right of electing the minister in the kirk-session, with power to 
the congregation to complain to the presbytery in case they 
were dissatisfied. All the ministers ordained from 1649 to 
1660 had been chosen under this system. It was now declared 
that all such ministers had no right to their livings. It was, 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 255. 
- See Murray's Acts of Parliament. 


however, with a show of tenderness, provided, that every 
minister who should now receive a presentation from his 
patron, and institution from his bishop, would continue to 
enjoy his church, benefice, and manse, as if his title had been 
good from the first ; and all patrons were at the same time 
enjoined to give presentations to those incumbents who 
should make application within a specified time. 1 It was 
quite understood that this act was passed, not so much to 
preserve the rights of the patrons as to confirm the power of 
the bishops. Every minister who would retain his benefice 
must seek institution from his bishop, and thus acknowledge 
in the fullest extent his authority. 

Some other acts being passed, and the parliament dissolved, 
the Lord High Commissioner made a visit to the west. 
Many of the gentry exhibited their loyalty by feasting the re- 
presentative of Majesty, and the country was scandalised by 
stories of the drunken orgies in which he nightly engaged. It 
was even told, and believed, that the Commissioner, with his 
debauched crew, had at deep midnight drank the devil's health 
at the Cross of Ayr; and the simple peasantry shuddered 
when they thought of it. 2 Amid these excesses the Commis- 
sioner found time to listen to a complaint of the Archbishop 
of Glasgow, that none of the ministers of his diocese had yet 
presented themselves for institution, but that they continued in 
their livings in defiance of the law. In these circumstances a 
meeting of the Privy Council was called at Glasgow on the ist 
of October, and an act was passed, declaring all who had not 
complied with the law to have forfeited their livings, interdict- 
ing them from preaching, and charging them to remove with 
their families from their parishes before the first of November. 
It was said that almost every member of the Council was 
heated by wine when this resolution was framed, and perhaps 
this is. the best excuse that can be given for so mad a deed." 

Most of the men who passed this act had more than once 
changed their political and religious creed to keep pace with 
the change of times ; for consistency is a rare virtue in seasons 
of anarchy \ and imagining that all others must be as destitute 
of principle as themselves, they confidently foretold that there 
were not ten ministers who would not yield, rather than cast 
themselves, their wives and their children, beggars upon the 

1 See Murray's Acts of Parliament. 

2 Kirkton's History, pp. 149, 152. See also Burnet, vol. i. 

3 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 169. Kirkton, p. 149. 


world. Others, however, anticipated a different result ; for but 
a month before, two thousand ministers in England had re- 
linquished their livings rather than conform to rites which 
they regarded as sinful. The day fixed by the Council came, 
and nearly three hundred ministers sorrowfully turned their 
backs upon the pleasant manses where they had spent so many 
happy days. In the north country some had succumbed ; but 
in the west and south, hardly one. In the most populous and 
intelligent districts of the country the churches were shut, the 
preaching of the gospel was suspended ; it was as if a Papal 
interdict had once more been laid on the land. The bishops 
and nobles were aghast at the havoc themselves had wrought. 
The primate disowned the deed ; and the Commissioner could 
only curse the foolish obstinacy of the men who ruined them- 
selves for Presbytery. 

The ministers who were thus thrown out of the Church were 
the youngest of the brethren — not the old veterans who had 
held meetings of presbytery within the lines of the army which 
had encamped at Dunse-law and fought at Marston. Though 
their opinions had been somewhat extravagant, these had been 
toned down by time, and they were almost to a man diligent 
in the discharge of their pastoral duties, and consequently en- 
deared to their flocks. The peasantry, though still but poorly 
educated, had by means of their preaching and catechising 
attained to a wonderful knowledge of their Bibles, and took a 
lively interest in the welfare of their spiritual guides. The 
minister had joined them to their wives in wedlock, and had 
somewhat relaxed his usual gravity on such joyful occasions ; 
he had sprinkled their children with the waters of baptism, 
and given them his blessing ; he had stood by their bedsides 
when they were sick or dying, and had pointed their hopes 
upward to heaven ; he was associated with all their seasons 
both of grief and of gladness ; and no marvel, then, their 
murmurs were loud and deep when the sacred bonds which 
bound them together were to be broken. And how were so 
many vacant pulpits to be filled ? Burnet says there was an 
invitation sent over the country, like a hue-and-cry, to all per- 
sons to accept of benefices in the west. Lads of eighteen 1 
were asked to take charge of parishes. Many of them were 
snug livings, and it was soon seen that there were persons 
ready to draw the stipends, if not qualified to discharge the 

1 Burnet says such an offer was pressed upon himself at that age. See 
his tJistory, vol. i. 

A.D. 1663. J THE CURATES. 95 

duties. The north had ever been the great preserve of Epis- 
copacy, and thence came a crowd of candidates, as droves of 
black cattle are now brought from their wilds to be fattened 
on the richer pastures of the south. The parishes were filled, 
but many of them by men infamous for their immoral lives, 
almost all of them by men despicable for their talents and 
learning. 1 In some cases the people opposed the settlement 
of these intruders ; but in general they received them in sullen 

The parliament of 1662 had passed an Act of Indemnity; 
but they had clogged it with an act empowering the parlia- 
ment to impose fines upon obnoxious individuals, and with 
another empowering the parliament by ballot to exclude any 
twelve obnoxious individuals from all places of trust. This 
latter act was levelled chiefly against the Earl of Lauderdale, 
who, residing in London, and possessing the king's ear, was 
regarded by Middleton as his most formidable rival. But 
Middleton was no match for Lauderdale in intrigue; his 
weapons were turned against himself; and although he went 
to court to try to regain the influence he felt he was fast 
losing, he was superseded by the Earl of Rothes. This 
Rothes was the son of that earl who had been honoured as 
the father of the Covenant ; but the times were changed, and 
so were the men. He was like his father only in being a 
shameless libertine. Lauderdale knew that he was com- 
pletely under his influence, and accompanied him to Scotland 
in the summer of 1663. 

Some of the outed ministers who had left 
3 ' their manses had not left their parishes, and 
continued to preach, though no longer in the church. Their 
parishioners flocked to hear them, and the curates,- as the new 
incumbents were generally called, found themselves deserted. 
It is not to be wondered at if these men sometimes alluded 
to the wrongs they had suffered, and warned their people to 
beware of the false teachers who had come amongst them like 
wolves in sheep's clothing. The practice of holding con- 
venticles, as these meetings were called, had become so 
common, the crowds who resorted to them were so great, the 
attendance upon the parish churches was so miserably thin, 

1 Burnet's testimony upon this point is very strong ; vol. i. Kirkton 
speaks in the same strain. 

2 So called as holding the cure, like the French cure, and not to be 
confounded with " curate " as used in England. 


that when the parliament met in the month of June it instantly 
set itself to cure the evil. The extruded ministers were for- 
bidden to exercise their ministry under the pain of being 
punished as seditious persons. All and sundry were com- 
manded to attend divine worship in their parish churches. If 
they absented themselves they were to be ruinously fined — 
every proprietor in one-fourth of his year's rental; every tenant 
in a proportion of his moveables, not exceeding a fourth; 
every burgess in a like sum, besides being deprived of his 
privilege of trading. The Privy Council was directed to see 
this act put into execution against all such persons as should 
be reported to them by the curates. 1 It was a most oppressive 
piece of legislation, made more oppressive still in the course 
of time ; but the humour of the people could not be sup- 
pressed, and they called it in derision "The bishops' drag- 

The parliament which passed this act signalized itself still 
further by the execution of Johnstone of Warriston. Ever 
since his forfeiture he had been skulking about the Low 
Countries and Germany, till toward the end of 1662, w 7 hen 
he imprudently ventured into France. He w r as there appre- 
hended and brought over to England. After being confined 
for some months in the Tower of London, he was sent down 
to Scotland by sea, and landed at Leith while the parliament 
was sitting. He was placed at the bar of the house to hear 
the doom of death pronounced upon him, in consequence of 
the sentence passed against him nearly three years before. 
He was now a feeble old man, with a mind so shattered by 
age and misfortune that when he attempted to speak he was 
scarcely coherent. It was the sad wreck of a once noble 
intellect. His venerable years and melancholy condition did 
not save him. He was hanged at the cross of Edinburgh, on 
the 2 2d of July, and his head, severed from his body, placed 
beside that of James Guthrie on the Netherbow port. 2 Warris- 
ton was certainly deeply involved in all the movements of the 
Covenanters, and had accepted office under the Protectorate ; 
but now he was an old man, never likely to hurt any one 
more, and surely Charles and his parliament could have 
afforded to be merciful. Lauderdale might have remembered 
that Warriston had sat as his brother elder in the Westminster 
Assembly — that then they both held the same sentiments and 

1 See Murray's Collection of Acts of Parliament. 
- Wodrow's History, vol. i. p. 357. 

A.D. 1663.] SIR JAMES TURNER. 97 

pursued the same ends — and made an effort to save him. But 
Lauderdale had already discovered his true character. He- 
had been a Covenanter, because it was necessary to be so to 
rise to power and place ; and now he was a persecutor of the 
Covenanters for the same reason. He could calmly sacrifice 
his ancient friend to advance himself. 

The Privy Council were not long of entering upon the work 
which had been given them to do. It was in the west and 
south-west of Scotland that the aversion to Episcopacy was 
strongest ; and thither Sir James Turner was despatched with 
a body of troopers, to compel all to attend upon religious 
services which in their hearts they abhorred. Turner was a 
military adventurer, ready to sell his sword to the highest 
bidder. He had served in the continental wars ; he had 
served under the banners of the Covenant ; and now he was 
ready to serve the king. " I had," he himself candidly con- 
fesses, " swallowed without chewing, in Germany, a very 
dangerous maxim, which military men there too much follow ; 
which was, that so we serve our master honestly, it is no 
matter what master we serve.'' 1 The life he had led had 
completely deadened any feelings of compassion which may 
have originally belonged to him, and his passions, always 
violent, were very frequently inflamed to madness by drink. 
Yet from his youth upwards he had cherished a fondness for 
letters, of which he has left us no despicable proof in the 
" Memoirs of his own Life and Times." This was the man 
upon whom the Privy Council fixed as the executioner of their 
acts, and it was soon seen that he was peculiarly well fitted 
for his work. 

It was natural for the curates to feel some degree of chagrin 
at the desertion of their churches ; but they become odious 
when they place themselves in the position of informers, as 
too many of them did. Some were in the habit of calling a 
roll of their parishioners after the church service was over, and 
handing a list of the absentees to the officer commanding in the 
district. In the case of wealthy proprietors, their names were 
forwarded to the Privy Council, who knew well how to proceed ; 
in the case of the poorer tenantry, the officer, without any 
form of law, imposed a fine, and, if it were not instantly paid, 
he quartered some of his soldiers upon the family till the money 
was got. A set of rough dragoons, thus domiciled with reli- 
gious families, were not likely to respect their feelings or in- 

1 Turner's Memoirs of his own Life and Times. 



[chap. xix. 

crease their quiet, while they were devouring their substance. 
This was one way in which the law was enforced. But there 
were methods meaner still. Some of the prelates kept in- 
formers in their pay — low wretches, who went to the conven- 
ticles in disguise, and afterwards informed upon those who 
were present. In other cases, a party of soldiers visited those 
churches still occupied by Presbyterian ministers, 'to which 
people from the surrounding parishes were accustomed to 
resort ; and stationing themselves at the door, as the congre- 
gation was being dismissed, questioned every one whether or 
not he belonged to the parish ; and if he did not, he was laid 
hold of as a defaulterand fined. 1 This was the beginning of the 
systematic attempt to torture the country into a compliance 
with Episcopacy. The people groaned under it, but had 
patience to endure. Resistance was utterly hopeless. 

In the beginning of 1664, Archbishop Sharp 
a.d. 1 4. ma( j e a v ; s i t t0 London. It was said that he had 
not found the Privy Council so subservient as he could have 
wished : that the Chancellor Glencairn had shown some un- 
easiness both at the sufferings of the people and the arrogance 
of the prelates ; and that he went to complain. Be this as it 
may, on the 16th of January the king, at Whitehall, erected a 
Court of High Commission, whose special business it was to 
attend to ecclesiastical affairs. This tyrannical court had its 
only foundation in the royal prerogative ; but it was invested 
with most plenary powers. None were exempted from its juris- 
diction. The slightest whisper against the Established Church 
might constitute a crime, according to its code of law. It 
could depose ministers ; fine, imprison, whip all ; and it did 
not allow its powers to sleep. 2 The arbitrary and inquisitorial 
proceedings of such a court had once before helped to rouse 
the indignation of the country ; and when again the country 
beheld faithful ministers banished, pious gentlemen ruined by 
exorbitant fines, young men and even women cruelly scourged, 
wrath began to accumulate. Charles himself, blind though 
he usually was to such things, at length began to see that its 
proceedings were breeding antipathy and disgust, and in little 
more than a year after its institution, ordered it to be discon- 

1 Kirkton's History, p. 200. See also Burnet, vol. i. Sharp kept a 
wretch called Carstairs, who acted as an informer. 

2 A copy of the royal letter setting up this court is to be found in 
Wodrow, vol. i. pp. 384-86. 

A.D. 1665.] CONVENTICLES. 99 

But though the High Commission no longer 
5 * met, persecution did not cease. In the month 
of December 1665 the Privy Council issued a proclamation 
against conventicles ; and Turner continued his system of op- 
pression in Galloway and the other districts of the west, where 
the peasantry still remember his name with hereditary abhor- 
rence. But neither the proclamations of the Council nor the 
outrages of a soldiery hardened to crime could terrify the 
people from occasionally meeting to hear what they considered 
the pure gospel, preached to them by a pastor whom they 
loved. Sometimes they met in a gentleman's dining-room — 
sometimes in a barn — anywhere to escape detection. The 
people stealthily brought their children that they might be 
baptised ; young men and young women sometimes presented 
themselves in order to be married. But it was hardly to be 
expected that men thus goaded to madness would not some 
day, when opportunity presented, turn upon their oppressors. 
The most timid of creatures, when driven to bay, will show 
fight rather than tamely die. Such circumstances as these now 

On the 1 2th of November a cry got up in the little village 
of Dairy, in Galloway, that some soldiers were binding an 
old man in his own house, and threatening to strip him naked 
and roast him on a gridiron, if he did not pay his church fines. 
It so happened that four men, who for some time had been in 
hiding among the hills, had come down to the village in search 
of food, and they instantly went to the rescue. Some words 
were exchanged, the soldiers drew their swords, the rustics dis- 
charged a pistol, loaded with tobacco stopple, which took 
effect, and the victory was theirs. The soldiers surrendered 
themselves as their prisoners. The noise of this soon spread 
over the country, and all felt that they had gone too far to re- 
cede. They knew that Turner would take terrible revenge if 
he had it in his power. They resolved to march to Dumfries, 
where he was lying, and take him by surprise. Fifty horse and 
two hundred foot were soon gathered for such an enterprise. 
It was late in the morning when they reached Dumfries; but 
not a sentinel had been set, and Sir James had not yet got out 
of his bed. The prancing of horsemen in the street made him 
start to his feet, and hurry to the window in his night-clothes 
to learn the cause of the noise. Finding himself in the hands 
of his enemies, he begged for mercy, and it was given him ; 
though one should have imagined that men almost maddened 


by his oppressions would have shot or hanged him on the 

Having succeeded thus far, the insurgents were at a loss as 
to what they should next do, so unpreconcerted had been the 
rising. After some hesitation they marched into Ayrshire, 
where the Presbyterian feeling was peculiarly strong, and 
where it was hoped that numerous recruits would enlist in the 
good cause. But many of the leading west-country gentlemen 
were already in prison ; the terror of the king's name was 
strong ; the enterprise seemed utterly hopeless ; and compara- 
tively few joined their ranks. They next marched to Lanark, 
another stronghold of the Covenant. Here they reached 
their greatest numerical strength, counting upwards of two 
thousand. But they were little better than a rabble. Almost 
the only military man amongst them was a Colonel Wallace, 
upon whom they conferred the chief command \ and he 
seems to have done all that man could do to organise and 
discipline them \ but a few days' drill could not fit them to 
cope with regular troops thoroughly disciplined and completely 
armed. It was seriously debated whether they should not dis- 
perse, but it was decided that it was safer to remain in arms. 
Accordingly the troops were drawn up in the High Street of 
the town of Lanark, and the Covenant was solemnly re- 
newed ; but the spirits of most were depressed, and foreboded 

Meantime the Privy Council were greatly alarmed, and 
ordered General Dalziel to march against the insurgents. No 
fitter man could have been found. His royalism amounted 
to frenzy. After the execution of the king he never shaved 
his beard, in fulfilment of a vow. 1 His disposition was natu- 
rally savage, and he had learned his profession in Muscovy, 
in the wars against the Tartars and Turks, where pity was 
unknown. He was universally reputed, during his lifetime, to 
be in league with the devil ; and even to this day his old 
mansion-house of Binns, where his portrait leers from the 
walls, is believed to be haunted by his grim ghost. 

With such an enemy watching their movements, the Cove- 
nanters should have remained at Lanark. They were there in 
a friendly country ; the town standing on an eminence offered 
many advantages for defence ; and the Clyde, swollen by the 
winter's rains and rushing through its deep rocky ravines, lay 
betwixt them and Dalziel. But they were deceived by a 
1 See Memoirs of Captain Crighton. 


rumour that Edinburgh and the Lothians were ready to join 
them. They resolved to march upon Bathgate that very 
night. The night was dark, the rain fell in torrents, the 
country to be traversed was a dreary moor ; and many dis- 
liking such hardships, and despairing of the issue, slipped 
away. From Bathgate they proceeded to Colinton, where it 
was made plain that the capital had assumed an attitude of 
defence, and that no help was to be found. The Pentland 
hills now reared their green slopes to the south and west of 
them, and thither they directed their weary steps. Reaching 
a place called Rullion Green, they halted to rest. It was now 
the 28th of November. For some time General Dalziel had 
been following like a bloodhound on their track, and the dis- 
spirited Covenanters had scarcely halted when intelligence was 
brought that he was approaching from Currie, and would soon 
be upon them. They had already attempted in vain to nego- 
tiate, and now there was nothing for it but to fight. They 
were still 900 strong, and made their dispositions for battle. 
In the first onset the Covenanters were like to have carried 
the day, but the face of affairs was speedily reversed, and the 
whole multitude were chased in confusion from the field. 
About forty-five were killed and a hundred taken prisoners — 
numbers which show that the fighting was not severe. But, 
in fact, it was little more than the dispersion of a mob. 1 

The prisoners were carried to Edinburgh, and some of them 
were put into Haddo's Hole, and others into the Tolbooth. 
And now came the day of terrible retribution. It was thought 
that the rising was the result of some extensive conspiracy. It 
was even suspected that the poor peasantry of Galloway were 
in league with the Dutch, at that time at war with England. 
It was therefore resolved to try what torture could do in 
eliciting the truth, though torture had been unknown in Scot- 
land for upwards of thirty years. Among the prisoners were 
John Neilson of Corsack, and Hugh M'Kail, a preacher of 
the gospel. Their limbs were encased in that dreadful instru- 
ment of agony — the boot. Lord Rothes sat by, and ordered 
the executioner to give another and still another stroke, till 
their legs were crushed almost to a jelly. The sufferings of 
Corsack were so dreadful, that he screamed aloud in his 
agony. But still they revealed nothing, for in truth they had 
nothing to reveal. It is certain that about this period a plot 

1 I have taken my account of this rising from Blackadder's Memoirs, 
and from the Histories of Woclrow and Kirkton. 


had been formed to seize upon the principal fortresses, and 
a communication had been made to the States-General, re- 
questing assistance in arms and money ; but who made that 
communication is a mystery to this day. We may be quite 
sure it had nothing to do with the rising in Galloway. 

When the unhappy men were tried for their lives, it was 
pleaded that they had received quarter when they surrendered 
themselves prisoners ; but it was ruled by the Court, that such 
mercy extended by a soldier must not influence the justice of 
a judge, and the work of death began. 1 First ten of them 
were led out and hanged ; then seven more ; and to strike 
terror into the rebellious west, other sixteen were hanged in 
Glasgow, Ayr, Irvine, and Dumfries. 2 The populations of 
the towns in which these things were done were deeply 
affected. Grief and anger mingled with fear. It was thought 
that the Laird of Corsack might have been spared, seeing he 
had interfered to save the life of Turner, notwithstanding all 
he had suffered at his hands. But it was the martyr-like de- 
portment and touching eloquence of M'Kail that made the 
deepest impression on the public mind. It was afterwards 
discovered that, before the execution of M'Kail and those who 
suffered with him, the Archbishop of Glasgow had returned 
from London with a letter from the king, approving of what 
had been done, and giving his opinion that enough of blood 
had already been shed ; but he did not produce it in time to 
stop their execution, and so their blood is upon his head." 

Sir Thomas Dalziel was now sent into the west, to crush 
any remaining spirit of turbulence, and bring the country to a 
fondness for Episcopacy. His ferocious temper and Muscovite 
habits had now free scope, and many traditions yet linger in 
Ayrshire and Dumfries regarding the relentless rigour with 
which he ruined the miserable Presbyterians who fell into his 
hands. The old spirit was completely broken, or at least bent 
to the very ground. The churches began to fill, the curates 
to be treated with a show of respect, and it appeared as if 
persecution was about to triumph. 4 While Scotland was thus 
suffering, its ancestral king was dallying with his mistresses at 
Whitehall, and perhaps sportively telling them that " Presby- 
terianism was not a religion for a gentleman." 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. i. 

- Historians vary as to the exact number who were executed. There 
were, however, between thirty and forty. 

:; Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 264. 4 Ibid. vol. i. p. 265. 

A.D. 1667.] LULL IN THE STORM. 103 

The fall of Clarendon, which took place at this 
'■ time, and the cabals of the English court had 
some influence on the northern kingdom. The Scotch nobility 
had hitherto played a base part. They had made themselves 
the tools of an odious tyranny, and passed every law, however 
cruel, which was brought before them. But some of them 
began to pity their prostrate country, and the king himself had 
his relentings. The Earls of Tweeddale and Kincardine, and 
Sir Robert Murray, counselled that milder measures should be 
tried. The Earl of Rothes and Archbishop Sharp, who had 
always been the advocates of violence, fell into disgrace. 
Rothes was stripped of his office, and Sharp ordered to 
confine himself to his diocese. Rothes had proposed that 
the Declaration renouncing the Covenant should be offered 
not only to those in office, but to all, and that those who 
refused it should be treated as traitors. Tweeddale and his 
friends urged that, instead of the Declaration, suspected per- 
sons should be required merely to subscribe bonds pledging 
themselves to keep the peace. These counsels prevailed ; an 
order was issued to disband the army ; and toward the end of 
1667 a proclamation was made, inviting all who had been en- 
gaged in the recent insurrection to appear before the Council, 
and subscribe the bonds of peace. Pardon was promised to 
all who should do so, with the exception of a few who were 
peculiarly obnoxious. 1 The majority of those who had laid 
themselves open to the rigours of the law availed themselves 
of this act of indemnity; but some of the sterner Presbyterians 
argued, that to bind themselves to keep the peace was to bind 
themselves to support the established government in Church 
and State, and chose rather still to suffer affliction than make 
any compromise. The persecuted Presbyterians had a short 

g Thus the year 1667 passed away, and the spring 

of 166S. On the nth of July 1668 Archbishop 
Sharp was coming from his lodging in the Blackfriars' Wynd 
of Edinburgh. He had just stepped into his carriage, and 
Honeyman, the Bishop of Orkney, was following, when a 
pistol was fired at him. Honeyman's arm happened at the 
moment to intervene, and was shattered by the ball ; but it 
probably saved the primate's life. The deed being done, the 
assassin mysteriously disappeared amid the confusion which 
ensued. It turned out afterwards that he had slipped down a 
1 Burnet's History, vol. i. pp. 273-6. Wodrow, vol. i. 


close, got to his lodgings, changed part of his clothes, and 
appeared again in the streets, where no one suspected him. 1 
In the snapping of that pistol the primate should have heard 
an echo of the hatred with which he was regarded. Assassin- 
ation is a desperate remedy, but in every down-trodden country 
there will be desperate men who will resort to it. So all history 
has proved. 

ad 1660 ^° ear ^' as x ^7 a P ro P osa l t0 extend an in- 
dulgence to some of the ejected Presbyterian 
ministers had been talked of at court, but it was 1669 be- 
fore it was matured. On the 7th of June of that year the 
Earl of Tweeddale laid before the Privy Council a letter from 
the king, authorizing such an indulgence, and explaining its 
terms. The Council were to appoint such of the ejected 
ministers as they thought right to vacant parishes. Those 
ministers who agreed to take collation from the bishops were 
to have a right to the stipends ; those who did not were to 
enjoy merely the manse and glebe, and the right to exercise 
their ministerial office ; all were to bind themselves to hold 
kirk-sessions and attend presbyteries, and not to administer 
the sacrament of baptism or the Lord's Supper to any but 
their own parishioners ; and further, to discourage the resort 
of people from other parishes to their preaching. Proceeding 
upon this royal letter, the Council first admitted twelve 
ministers to vacant parishes, and, within a short period after- 
wards, thirty more. Some of these were admitted to the 
parishes where they had previously ministered, and others to 
different ones; and all of them, while adhering to their 
Presbyterian principles, expressed their gratitude for this act 
of royal clemency. 2 

It was scarcely to be expected that so scanty a measure 
of grace would bring peace to the Church. The truth is, it 
displeased both parties. The uncompromising Covenanters 
declared it was an attempt to skin over the ulcer without 
healing it. The ministers who were not included in the in- 
dulgence spoke bitter things against their brethren who w r ere. 
It was found, moreover, that men protected by government 
are more loyal than men who are treated as outlaws. The 
indulged ministers no longer inveighed against the king and 
his bishops, as they had done at their conventicles, and for 
this they were branded as the king's curates, and as dumb 

1 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 309. Kirkton, p. 279. 

2 Burnet's History, vol. i. pp. 314-316. Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 130-32. 

A.D. 1669. J THE INDULGENCE. I 05 

dogs ; and the popularity which had once attended them now 
forsook them. The high Prelatic party were equally wroth. 
They declared that the measure was Erastian, and more, that 
it was unlawful. Zealous for the royal prerogative hitherto, 
they now declared that the king had no business to override 
acts of parliament. It was in the large diocese of Glasgow 
that Presbyterianism was peculiarly strong, and Archbishop 
Burnet and his clergy were peculiarly indignant at the in- 
dulgence. A Synod was held at Glasgow in October, and a 
remonstrance framed in language not quite so fawning as was 
generally used by the bishops to the king. It was retained, 
however, for reconsideration, but a copy of it, in some in- 
direct manner, was procured and forwarded to court. The 
king declared it was no better than the western Remonstrance ; 
and Burnet soon afterwards paid for his presumption by the 
loss of his bishopric. 

The synod was hardly dissolved when the parliament met. 
The Earl of Lauderdale, who was a member of the English 
Court cabal, now acted as his Majesty's Commissioner. On 
the 10th of November the famous Assertory Act was passed. 
"The Estates of Parliament," it proceeds, "having seriously 
considered how necessary it is for the good and peace of the 
Church and State that his Majesty's power and authority in 
relation to matters and persons ecclesiastical be more clearly 
asserted by an act of parliament, ... do hereby enact, 
assert, and declare, that his Majesty hath the supreme autho- 
rity and supremacy over all persons, and in all causes 
ecclesiastical within this kingdom; and that, by virtue thereof, 
the ordering and disposal of the external government and 
policy of the Church doth properly belong to his Majesty and 
his successors, as an inherent right of the crown ; and that his 
Majesty and his successors may settle, enact, and emit such 
constitutions, acts, and orders, concerning the administration 
of the external government of the Church, and the persons 
employed in the same, and concerning all ecclesiastical meet- 
ings and matters to be proposed and determined therein, as 
they in their royal wisdom shall think fit." 

Nobody liked this act. It was said that it made Charles 
both king and pope. The bishops spoke against it, but voted 
for it. The Presbyterians had little to say in such matters at 
all. Lauderdale whispered to his brother nobles that it was 
meant to humble the pride of the prelates, and make the mitre 
dependent on the Crown ; he whispered to others that it was 


meant to give legal authority to such acts as the Indulgence. 
It was said afterwards that Lauderdale knew that the Duke of 
York was a Papist, and that it was designed to enable him to 
change the religion of the land by a stroke of his pen. 1 

6 The first exercise of Charles's ecclesiastical 

power was unfrocking the Archbishop of Glas- 
gow. This done, Leighton the Bishop of Dunblane was per- 
suaded to become commendator of the vacant see ; and about 
the same time Gilbert Burnet, the historian, was nominated to 
the professorship of theology in the university. They were 
very different men — Leighton, retiring, heavenly-minded, in- 
clined to asceticism ; Burnet, bustling, officious, fond of 
mingling in the world ; but still they were bound together by 
a sincere friendship, and were both anxious to heal the Church 
of her wounds. Leighton set himself to reform and elevate his 
clergy ; and Burnet procured the appointment of a deputation 
who perambulated the west, and counselled moderation and 
peace. But the great object of the new archbishop, the burden 
of his prayers, the end for which he was willing to bear all the 
obloquy of his position, was a scheme of accommodation 
between the Episcopalians and Presbyterians. Invited to 
court, he ventured to lay it before the king, and the king re- 
joiced the bishop's heart by giving it his sanction, and embody- 
ing it in a set of instructions to his Commissioner the Earl of 
Lauderdale. His proposal was to the effect, that the bishops 
should be recognised in the Church only as the perpetual 
moderators of the presbyteries ; that ministers should be 
ordained by the bishop with the concurrence of his presby- 
ters, and not in the cathedral but in the churches where they 
were to serve ; and that synods should be held every third 
year, in which the bishops might be censured if found guilty 
of any fault. 2 

The Earl of Kincardine was anxious that these propositions 
should at once be made law ; but the Earl of Lauderdale 
argued that it would be rash to make so great a change in the 
constitution of the Church, unless it were to be followed by 
some practical result. Some of the leading Presbyterian 
ministers were therefore invited to meet Leighton at Holyrood 
Chapel, when the plan of the proposed union was explained 
to them ; but they received it coldly, though the archbishop 
urged it upon them with his most persuasive eloquence. Both 

1 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 317. 

' J Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 322-28. Wodrow, vol § ii. 


Leighton and Burnet afterwards made several attempts to gain 
them, but they held that Episcopacy in no guise was allow- 
able, and at length the fond endeavour was abandoned in 
despair. 1 

We need not wonder that the Presbyterians resisted the 
proposed union, though recommended to them by the apos- 
tolic piety of Leighton. Episcopacy had never appeared in 
Scotland in an amiable form — at that moment it was the cause 
of all its misery ; and it could not be forgotten that, at the 
beginning of that very century, bishops had crept into the 
Church, under the mask of perpetual moderators, who had 
afterwards with a high hand lorded it over God's heritage. 
While, therefore, we admire the catholicity of Leighton, we 
should be slow to call the Presbyterians either fanatics or 
fools. But even though they had yielded, it is very doubtful if 
the plan could have been carried. Among the prelates Leigh- 
ton was alone. Sharp was violently opposed to the com- 
promise, so derogatory to his primatial dignity. Lauderdale's 
sincerity was suspected ; and it is scarcely probable that 
Charles, in the face of the English Church, would have 
touched such a law with his sceptre. Disappointed in his 
noble effort to bring peace to his country, and sick at heart, 
Leighton resigned his archbishopric and retired to England. 

While these things were doing, conventicles were increas- 
ing. Hitherto they had generally been kept in private houses, 
but now they began to be held in the fields ; and the Cove- 
nanters in some instances came armed, in case of being- 
surprised by the soldiery who were everywhere scouring the 
country. Three of these field-meetings during this year excited 
a great deal of notice from the crowds which gathered at them : 
the first met at Beithhill, in the parish of Dunfermline; the 
second at Livingseat, in the parish of Carnwath ; and the third 
at Torwood, in Stirlingshire. We have an account of the first 
in the Memoirs of Blackadder, one of the ministers who 
officiated at it. It gives an interesting glimpse of these 
strange congregations among the hills. 

It was in the month of June that it met. On the Saturday 
afternoon the people began to gather, and many of them lay 
all night on the hill-side. Mr Blackadder came the same even- 
ing privately from Edinburgh, slept at Inverkeithing, with his 
clothes on, and starting early next morning, without knowing 
exactly where the meeting was to be held, learned by the way 
1 Burnet's History, vol. i. p. 322-28. Wodrow, vol. ii. 


that it had been resolved to hold it on the hill-top, that the 
country round and round might be seen. A proper spot being 
fixed upon, a tent was set up, and Mr Dixon began the ser- 
vices. While Dixon was lecturing, Blackadder stationed him- 
self with the men appointed to watch on the outskirts of the 
crowd to guard against surprise. During sermon some ill- 
affected people were observed to drop in, and, among others, 
the two sons of the curate \ upon which it was resolved that 
they should be allowed to come, but that they should not be 
allowed to go, lest they should give the alarm ; and men were 
set to watch their movements. One suspected man was ob- 
served making for his horse, but he was followed \ he pre- 
tended he was merely in search of a drink, and returned to the 
meeting. The morning service began at eight o'clock, and 
ended at eleven. 

Mr Blackadder was to preach in the afternoon. Before 
going to the tent, and while revolving his sermon, he heard a 
considerable noise, and found it was a crowd bringing back the 
curate's sons, who had attempted to walk off. Blackadder in- 
terfered, and told them they might go if they chose, upon 
which the youths agreed to remain. After the sermon was 
begun, a gentleman on horseback arrived, followed by a few 
others. It was the lieutenant of the militia stationed in the 
district. He dismounted, gave his horse to a man to hold, 
went into the crowd, and listened quietly for a time. He then 
returned to his horse, and proceeded to remount ; but some of 
the guard stepped forward, and requested him to remain, lest 
his departure should disturb the meeting. Finding him 
determined to go, and dreading his purpose, they laid hold of 
him as he was putting his foot in the stirrup. Thus rudely 
handled, he lifted his stick as if to strike, upon which two men, 
with cocked pistols, rushed upon him with such threatening 
looks as effectually cooled his courage. Such a scuffle hap- 
pening in the margin of the crowd, sent a wave of excitement 
over the whole congregation, which in due course reached the 
minister. He stopped his sermon, came down from the tent, 
and persuaded the people to give the lieutenant his horse, and 
allow him to depart, as a proof of their peaceable intentions. 
This done, the services were resumed, and brought to a con- 
clusion without any further interruption ; but the violence 
done to the king's servant was afterwards made the subject of 
much talk, and of several prosecutions. 1 

1 .Memoirs of the Rev. John Blackadder, pp. 144-48. 


These armed meetings alarmed a government which felt that 
its authority did not rest upon the affections of the people. It 
was resolved to resort to measures more severe than any which 
had yet been tried. The parliament met on the 28th of July, 
and continued its sittings during the greater part of August. 
It passed an act making it obligatory upon all to reveal upon 
oath whatever they knew in regard to conventicles and those 
present at them. This oath might be administered by any 
one having authority from his Majesty — it might be a Privy 
Councillor, or it might be a trooper ; and it might be ad- 
ministered to any one —to a wife to criminate her husband, or 
to a child to reveal the hiding-place of a parent. Refusal was 
followed by imprisonment or banishment. This act was fol- 
lowed by another more terrible still. To preach at a field con- 

present at such a meeting was a fine utterly ruinous. That 
this law might not remain inactive on the statute-book, not 
only were the sheriffs exhorted to use their utmost diligence to 
bring offenders to justice, but all his Majesty's good subjects 
were encouraged to join in the hunt by the promise of five 
hundred merks for every preacher they should seize, with a 
promise of full indemnity for any slaughter they might commit 
in apprehending and securing their victim. No bloodier law 
was ever proclaimed. During wars of extermination among 
savage hordes, it is no uncommon thing to offer a reward for 
every head of an enemy that shall be brought into the camp • but 
here a king and his parliament offer a reward for every minister 
of the gospel who shall be caught preaching the Word of God 
on some lonely hillside, to a congregation of peaceable people, 
who prefer their old Presbyterian pastors and their old Pres- 
byterian ways to the new Episcopal ones. 

Two other acts were passed of a similar complexion. The 
one imposed fines, imprisonment, and exile, for having a child 
baptised by an outed minister, and the other for absence, 
without good cause, for three successive Sundays from the 
parish church. One does not know whether to execrate most 
the monarch, who, without any religious convictions himself, 
thus fiercely persecuted his people for religion s sake, or the 
members of the Scottish parliament, who, without a protesting 
voice, surrendered their tenantry and friends to the rigours 
of such laws. 

Notwithstanding these laws, conventicles continued; for 
resolute men will rather surrender their lives than their reli- 


gion. The government, on the other hand, persevered in 
that species of persecution which is most apt to wear out a 
people's patience. Pious men and women were constantly 
being dragged before the Privy Council, or some inferior 
tribunal, for being present at a conventicle, or for sheltering 
a minister, and severely fined. So time wore on. In 1672 
parliament again met, and again passed acts against the Pres- 
byterians. The ejected ministers had, in some small degree, 
kept up their diminishing numbers by new ordinations ; this 
was declared to be a crime. Many parents either kept their 
infants unbaptised, or kept it secret that they had been sprinkled 
by some Presbyterian pastor : to have a child unbaptised for 
thirty days after its birth was also declared to be an offence, 
for which an exorbitant fine must atone. 1 To make room for 
the victims of these cruel laws, the Bass Rock was converted 
into a State Prison ; and many ministers and others were sent 
to it, to wear out their existence amid the screaming of sea- 
birds and the dashing of waves. 

These new severities were followed by an act of grace. A 
second Indulgence was extended to about eighty of the ejected 
ministers. But it was clogged with conditions. The indulged 
ministers were not to stir out of the parishes appointed them 
without the express permission of the bishop of the diocese ; 
they were all to administer the sacrament of the Supper on the 
same day ; and on no account to marry or baptise any except 
such as belonged to their own parishes. Several rejected the 
Indulgence as utterly Erastian. What right had the civil 
power to appoint to them the bounds of their office ? What 
right had the civil power to give them liberty to preach at all ? 
Their office was from a higher source. Those who did accept 
of the Indulgence found there were troubles within as well as 
without the pale of the law. They must keep the 29th of 
May as the anniversary of the Restoration, and if they refused, 
they were fined. They must abjure lecturing ; for the Council, 
in its paternal solicitude for religion, had proscribed this popular 
method of explaining the Scriptures to the people. 2 

Wodrow gives us an idea of the ruinous fines which were 
extorted from the Nonconformists, by furnishing us with a 
list of twelve gentlemen, in the shire of Renfrew alone, and in 
the course of a few years, who were fined in no less a sum than 
^368,000. Sir George Maxwell of Newark was fined ,£94,800. 

1 See Acts of the Scotch Parliament, 1672. 

2 Crookshank's History, vol. i. pp. 2SS-300. See also Wodrow, vol. ii. 


The Laird of Duchal, ^84,000. Cunningham of Carncurran, 
^o I 5>^33- Maxwell of Dargavel, ^18,900. Sir'George Max- 
well of Netherpollok, ^93,600. This of course was Scotch 
money, but still it was a monstrous sum, and had it all been 
levied, the gentlemen must have been ruined. The govern- 
ment accepted a composition, and upon the payment of that 
they rigorously insisted. 1 

It is not our purpose to mention all the individuals who 
suffered during this reign of terror in Scotland. The Council 
found out device after device for bringing the laws to bear 
upon the people. Magistrates were made responsible for all 
conventicles held within their burghs. Landowners were made 
responsible for all meetings held upon their grounds. Heads 
of households were made responsible for their children and 
servants. Sometimes the persecution abated, and sometimes 
its fury increased, according to the humour of the men in 
power. Lauderdale was now created a duke, and paid for the 
honour by becoming a ruffian. He was able but flagitious; 
possessed of a strong but vulgar mind. Like other renegades, 
he hated the party from which he had apostatised, and was re- 
solved to extirpate it, cost what it would. Knowing that his 
old Covenanting career made him suspected, he seemed 
anxious, like others of his kind, to remove suspicion by his 
zeal for the royal prerogative and his oppression of the Kirk. 
There was grossness about his figure and face, which was no 
false index of his heart. His temper, never amiable, became 
more and more irascible as he advanced in years, and he could 
not bear contradiction. While among the Covenanters he had 
acquired some knowledge of his Bible, and its language was 
now employed to give point to his jests. There are few things 
in history more striking or more melancholy than to find 
the Church of Scotland's representative in the Westminster 
Assembly of Divines become her cruel persecutor, and a 
mocker at all sacred things. He had married a court beauty, 
Lady Dysart, a woman of great ability and vivacity, but 
covetous, extravagant, violent in her likings and dislikings, 
and altogether unprincipled. She obtained almost absolute 
power over her husband, and abused it by taking bribes and 
selling places almost openly. This was the married pair who 
ruled Scotland in these dismal days. 

In 1674 a circumstance occurred, half ludicrous, half pitiful. 
As it was unsafe for men to petition for any relaxation from 

1 History, vol. ii. 


oppression, a number of women, some of them of high rank, 
resolved to do so. Accordingly, on the 4th of June, when 
the Privy Councillors came up to the Parliament-house, they 
found the entrance filled with females. When the archbishop 
appeared, some of them, with a woman's liberty of speech, 
called him " Judas," and " traitor," which made him creep 
close to the chancellor, in whose company he was. A 
minister's widow presented the petition. Rothes received 
it courteously, talked and even jested with some of the ladies 
who had come into the council-room, and seemed to enjoy 
the primate's perturbation. Howbeit, the petition was voted 
criminal, the subscribers were strictly interrogated if no man 
had been concerned in it, and some of them were afterwards 
imprisoned, and others banished from Edinburgh, for having 
thus presumed to mention their grievances. 

There were now in the country a considerable number of 
ministers and others, who had been summoned before the 
Council for preaching at conventicles, or being present at 
them, and who had not appeared, knowing their fate if the 
law had them in its grip. In 1675 an obsolete and barbarous 
practice was revived, and letters of intercommuning issued 
against about a hundred of these, — some of them extensive 
proprietors, some of them ladies of gentle birth and breeding, 
some of them ministers of the gospel. These letters were a 
species of civil excommunication, cutting them off from all 
society. Whoever should now harbour them, or converse 
with them, supply them with food or clothes, extend to them 
any of the meanest charities of life, was declared guilty of the 
same crimes as themselves ; and all sheriffs and their officers 
were ordered to pursue and apprehend them wherever they 
were to be found. Under the terrors of this proscription, 
many were obliged to leave their peaceful homes and betake 
themselves to the hills, and wander about from place to place, 
" being destitute, afflicted, tormented." No marvel that their 
fanaticism acquired a darker tone, and that a sullen revenge 
grew up within them. 

While the country was in this unsettled state, incidents were 
occurring in Edinburgh, which perhaps, above everything else, 
reveal the iniquity of the times, and the unprincipled character 
of the men at the head of affairs. When Archbishop Sharp 
was fired at in 1668, he got a glimpse, and just a glimpse, of 
a man at his carriage-door ; but the crack of the pistol, and 
the blaze of the powder, had so stamped that man's features 

A. D. 1674-76.] TRIAL OF MITCHELL. 113 

upon his mind, that he could never forget them. He had 
since observed a man who kept a shop not far from his lodg- 
ings in Edinburgh frequently looking hard at him, and he 
made up his mind that he was the assassin. He got a friend 
to go to this man, whose name was Mitchell, and who had 
once been a student of divinity, and promise him security if 
he would make a confession of his crime. Upon this- Mitchell 
agreed to tell everything. 1 In February 1674, he was brought 
before the Privy Council, and upon his life being solemnly 
promised, he acknowledged that it was he who had shot at the 
Archbishop of St Andrews, but that no living creature was the 
partner of his guilt. It was now debated what should be done 
with him. Some proposed that one of his hands, others that 
both, should be cut off, and farther, that he should be im- 
prisoned for life. It was thought proper, how r ever, that he 
should be brought before the Court of Justiciary, and his 
sentence pronounced by it. When placed at the bar, one of 
the judges gave him a friendly hint to confess nothing, unless 
he were sure of his limbs as well as his life. Mitchell took 
the hint, and now denied everything. 2 He was told that if he 
retracted his confession, the Privy Council would retract its 
promise, but still he stood stoutly to his denial. As no other 
evidence could be got, the advocate was obliged to abandon 
the indictment, and Mitchell was sent back to prison. 3 

Sometimes he was confined in the Edinburgh Tolbooth, 
and sometimes in the Bass Rock ; and so two years passed 
away. In 1676 he was again brought before the Lords of 
Justiciary, and questioned in regard to his being present with 
the insurgents at Pentland. He declined to criminate him- 
self, and torture was threatened. He pleaded that he had 
been tried two years ago, and the diet deserted for want of 
proof, and that it was unrighteous still to detain him in prison, 
and torture him now to accuse himself. The courts of justice 
should ever be the refuge of the distressed, but they have 
sometimes been made the instruments of tyranny, and it was 
so now. On the 24th of January 1676, the judges came into 
the inner Parliament-house in their robes, and the execu- 
tioner, the boot, and the victim were brought in. Mitchell 
was tied to an armed chair, and his right leg placed in the 
instrument of torture. Stroke after stroke was given by the 
hangman to the wedge — the boot tightened, and the leg was 

1 Burnet's History, vol. ii. p. 14. 2 Ibid. vol. ii. p. 15. 

3 Wodrow's History, vol. ii. pp. 249-52. 



crushed — but still the poor wretch kept his secret, till, at the 
ninth blow, he fainted clean away ; and then the judges, who 
had hitherto looked on, rose and left the room. Their 
barbarous cruelty had failed of its purpose. 1 

Mitchell was sent back to prison, but Sharp seems to have 
thought himself unsafe so long as he lived. The letters of 
intercommuning had filled the country with desperate men, 
and he dreaded others might be encouraged to assassinate 
him if Mitchell were allowed to escape. Lauderdale yielded 
to his clamours, and, in January 1678, Mitchell was again 
placed at the bar of the Justiciary Court. His previous in- 
dictment had embraced, besides the attempted murder of the 
primate, the Pentland Hill rising, but now the charge was 
limited to the first of these. No proof was produced but his 
confession before the Privy Council. Sir George Lockhart, 
one of the ablest lawyers and most upright men of the day, 
undertook his defence, and pleaded that no such extrajudicial 
confession could be allowed in court. This plea was over- 
ruled, on the ground that the Privy Council was a judicatory. 
Lockhart next pleaded the solemn promise of indemnity, but, 
to their everlasting infamy, Lauderdale, Rothes, Halton, and 
Sharp denied upon oath that any such promise had been 
given. Lockhart produced a copy of the Act of Council, in 
which mention of the promise was made ; it was an uncertified 
copy, but he asked that the Registers of Council might be 
examined, and argued that, as the Council had been declared 
to be a judicatory, there was a right of search. Lauderdale 
was in court when this request was made, and stood up and 
said — that he was not brought there to be accused of perjury; 
that the books of Council contained the king's secrets, and 
that no court should have the perusal of them. Mitchell was 
condemned to be hanged, and hanged he was at the Grass- 
market ; but the act still remains in the records of the Privy 
Council, to prove the perjury of the four greatest persons in 
the realm to take away his life. After the trial, Lauderdale 
talked of granting him a reprieve, till the king should be con- 
sulted ; but Sharp, haunted by the dread of assassination, re- 
sisted such clemency : " Then," said the duke, with a brutal 
jest, and mimicking the cant of the Covenanters, " let him go 
and glorify God at the Grassmarket ! " 2 

Conventicles still continued, especially in the west and 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. ii. pp. 457, 458. 

2 Burnet's History, vol. ii. pp. 15-18. Wodrow, vol. ii. pp. 468-71. 

A.D. 1676-79.] THE HIGHLAND HOST. I 15 

south-west country, and the gentry had shown a great reluc- 
tance to subscribe the bonds which made them responsible for 
all their dependents. It was resolved to treat the country as 
in a state of rebellion. A host of ten thousand men, of whom 
six thousand were Highlanders, was marched into the western 
counties, to seek free quarters there, and promote Episcopacy 
in their own fashion. We shall deceive ourselves if we think 
of this wild horde of men from the hills as being in anything 
like to that Highland Brigade which now embraces some of 
the finest regiments in the British army. It was a rabble of 
caterans accustomed to murder and theft, taught to regard 
plundering the Sassenach as a virtue, and having many of the 
habits of savage life. A committee of Council accompanied 
it, to point out the victims of oppression. Still the majority 
of the westland gentry resolutely refused to enter into the 
bonds, and the Duke of Lauderdale is said, in a frenzy at their 
obstinacy, to have bared his arm at the council-table, and 
sworn, by the name of the great Jehovah, that he would yet 
compel them to do so. 1 

The Duke of Hamilton, grieved to see the country laid 
waste, ventured to visit London to complain to the king. 
The Earls of Athole and Perth followed him, bent on the 
same errand. Charles received them coldly, and said he 
approved of all that his Commissioner had done ; but still it 
was felt both by the king and his minister that such oppres- 
sion could not be continued, and so the Highland host was 
dismissed to its native mountains. It returned laden with 
the spoils of the campaign. 2 Still the country continued in a 
most miserable condition. Hundreds were in hiding for fear 
of the law. Field meetings, attended by armed men, were 
regularly held. The Episcopal clergy were regarded by the 
Presbyterians as the cause of all their woes, and many were 
ripe for any desperate deed. Yet, to such a state of abject 
servitude had the nobles sunk, that a Convention of the Estates 
this very year wrote a letter to the king magnifying above mea- 
sure the administration of Lauderdale. 

There was a wretch named Carmichael commissioned by 
the Privy Council, at the request of Archbishop Sharp, to 
ferret out all frequenters of conventicles in Fife, and he had 
used his power with merciless severity. On the 3d of May 
1679, a band of outlawed men resolved to lie in wait for him 
near St Andrews, where it was understood he was to be hunt- 

1 Burnet's History, vol. ii. p. 20. 2 Ibid. pp. 21, 22, 


ing. He did not appear, and just as they were about to dis- 
perse, a boy told them that the archbishop was at Ceres, on 
his way from Edinburgh to St Andrews. The stern fanatics 
concluded that Providence had delivered their enemy into 
their hands, and the desperate resolution of murdering him was 
formed. It was not long till they descried the archbishop's 
coach driving along Magus Moor, about two miles to the 
south-west of his episcopal city. They instantly gave chase. 
Sharp, perceiving himself pursued, cried to the coachman to 
drive with all his might ; but a heavy, lumbering coach on a 
bad road had no chance against light horsemen. He was 
soon overtaken ; the traces were cut ; and he was at the 
mercy of men who regarded him as a traitor to his country 
and his God, and believed that to slay him was to render an 
acceptable service to Heaven. His daughter was beside him 
in the carriage, and though a pistol-shot was fired in at the 
window, he still clung to her side, perhaps thinking that her 
sex would save him, while she, poor girl ! screamed with terror. 
After a short scuffle he was dragged from the carriage and 
stabbed to death with many wounds, in vain begging for 
mercy. The bloody work being done, the assassins mounted 
their horses and galloped off, leaving the body of the murdered 
prelate lying on the moor. 1 

There were some in Scotland who applauded the deed, as 
there are some in every country who justify assassination in 
such circumstances still. But the great majority of the people 
condemned it as a foul murder. There were few, however, 
who greatly lamented the murdered man. A monument in 
white marble, reared by filial affection, in the Town Church of 
St Andrews, still remains to his memory ; but history belies 
his epitaph, and posterity still regards him as the Judas of the 
Scottish Church. 

The See of St Andrews, the second dignity in the kingdom, 
had been as fatal to its possessors as had the throne to the 
Stewarts. Beaton was assassinated in his castle at St Andrews ; 
Hamilton was hanged on a gibbet at Stirling ; Adamson died 
in beggary, and of a broken heart ; and now Sharp lay mur- 
dered on Magus Moor. 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. iii. 



When news of the archbishop's murder reached 
79 ' Edinburgh, the Privy Council issued a proclama- 
tion, offering a large reward for the apprehension of his 
murderers ; but they had fled to the west, where they were in 
the midst of men prepared to resist the officers of justice. A 
few days later the Council issued another proclamation, de- 
claring conventicles to be the rendezvouses of rebellion, and 
that persons attending them with arms would be punished as 
traitors. 1 But proclamations of the Council could not prevent 
what was inevitable. The west was ripe for rebellion ; and 
the crisis was hastened by the presence of the desperadoes 
who had fled from Fife. 

A few determined men resolved to give a public testimony 
against the sins of the government. They fixed upon the 
29th of May as the most fitting day, being the anniversary 
of the Restoration. They had at first thought of making 
Glasgow the scene of their demonstration, but deterred by the 
presence of the military, they proceeded to Rutherglen, a 
small royal burgh about three miles further east, and there 
they boldly threw down the gauntlet. They extinguished the 
bonfires which were blazing in honour of the Restoration ; 
they affixed to the market-cross a paper in which they 
denounced the various acts of parliament by which Presby- 
terianism had been overthrown, Prelacy established, and the 
country exposed to persecution ; and then they burned the 
acts to which their declaration referred. 2 

This daring deed made a considerable noise both in Edin- 
burgh and Glasgow. Grahame of Claverhouse, who at this 
time held a commission as captain in a regiment of horse, and 
had already distinguished himself by his zeal in hunting down 
the Covenanters, was stationed at Glasgow ; and on Saturday, 
the 31st of May, proceeded to Hamilton in search of the men 
who had defied the government. He there seized an inter- 
communed minister, and some other Presbyterians, but not 
of those who had been present at Rutherglen. He learned, 
however, that Thomas Douglas, a well known Covenanting 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. Hi. p. 58. 

- A copy of the Rutherglen Declaration will be found in Wodrow, vol. 
iii. pp. 66, 67. See also Law's Memorable Things, p. 149. 


minister, was to preach the next day at Loudon Hill, and he 
determined to march thither and disperse the conventicle. 

To the south of the village of Strathaven the country be- 
comes high and moorland, a heathy waste stretches out on 
every side as far as the eye can reach, and there is nothing to 
relieve the dull dreariness of the landscape but the towering 
form of Loudon Hill. In this desolate region the Covenanters 
met to worship their God, in their own fashion, on the 
Sunday morning of the ist of June. The stern and rugged 
character of the scenery harmonized with the stern and 
rugged character of the men. Several of those who had been 
at Rutherglen were there. The simple services were begun, 
when the watch stationed on the top of the hill gave the alarm 
that a body of horse was approaching ; and soon afterwards 
Claverhouse and his dragoons were observed on the rising 
ground betwixt them and Strathaven. Being mostly armed, 
they resolved to fight rather than to flee, and sending their 
women and children to the rear, they advanced to a swampy 
piece of ground near Drumclog, and there awaited the ap- 
proach of their enemy. The Covenanters, though undisci- 
plined, were determined ; and after a sharp skirmish Claver- 
house was compelled to sound a retreat, leaving some thirty 
of his troopers dead on the heath. 1 

Elated by this success, the Covenanters marched the next 
day upon Glasgow ; but after some fighting with the military, 
who had barricaded the streets, they retired towards Hamilton, 
where they formed a camp. The disaffected from every part 
of the country hastened to join them, and in a few days they 
could count four or five thousand men. But it was a desperate 
enterprise in which they were engaged. How could these 
four or five thousand hope to withstand the military power of 
three kingdoms ? But oppression makes wise men mad, and 
when the blood is up we do not nicely calculate the odds. 
Burnet declared before the House of Commons that the Duke 
of Lauderdale had once said to him, that he wished the 
Presbyterians would rebel, that he might bring over an army 
of Papists from Ireland to cut their throats ; 2 and something 
like a rebellion had now taken place. This army of Irish cut- 
throats was not brought over ; but the Privy Council called 
out the militia of the eastern and northern counties, and 

1 Wodrow, vol. iii. p. 69. See also Scots Worthies, Lives of Paton, 
Nisbet, &c., and Appendix. 

2 History of his Own Times, vol. ii. 


ordered every heritor and freeholder, with as many retainers 
and friends as he could muster, to turn out well mounted, so 
as to form a corps of cavalry. Intelligence of every move- 
ment was sent by flying packets, as they were called, to 
London; and the king ordered several English regiments to 
get in readiness to march to Scotland, and appointed his 
natural son, the Duke of Monmouth, to the command-in- 
chief. 1 

On the 1 8th of June the Duke of Monmouth arrived in 
Edinburgh, and on the same day was admitted a Privy 
Councillor. It soon became known that his gentle nature 
inclined him to clemency, though his commission required 
that the insurrection should be crushed. On the 19th he 
placed himself at the head of the army, and proceeding west- 
ward by slow marches, found himself on the 21st within two 
miles of the Covenanters, who were encamped at Hamilton 
Moor, on the south bank of the River Clyde. 

In the meantime the Covenanters, or Whigs, 2 as they were 
sometimes called, instead of scouring their muskets and 
learning their drill, were waging with one another a fierce 
polemical warfare. They wished to make proclamation of 
the causes for which they were in arms. Some insisted on 
including the Indulgence as a thing utterly Erastian and 
sinful, and others protested against this. They wished to 
have a fast-day to mourn over their sins ; but when they 
came to enumerate these, the Indulgence again became a 
bone of contention, and no fast-day was held. Some were 
for still acknowledging the king according to the Covenant ; 
but others wished to renounce him, as he had renounced the 
Covenant and persecuted the saints. Councils of war were 
converted into arenas of theological strife. Ministers sitting 
on horseback preached to the people. The men gave to 
their officers just so much obedience as they chose. In- 
fatuation went still farther. Robert Hamilton, brother of 
Sir William Hamilton of Preston, had hitherto held the 
chief command. He had been present at Rutherglen ; he 
had acted with conspicuous bravery at Drumclog ; and had, 
without any special election, been tacitly invested with the 
rank of general. But his capabilities for command were now 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. iii. pp. 72-75. 

2 The members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church — the descendants 
of the Covenanters — are known throughout Galloway to this day by the 
name of Whigs. 


questioned ; and his connection with the fanatical party who 
testified against the Indulgence and the king made all who 
held more moderate views regard him with dislike. When 
the columns of the Duke of Monmouth were in view, it 
was actually proposed to cashier all the old officers and 
nominate new ones in their stead, and the debate ran so high 
that Hamilton and some of his friends left the meeting in 
fierce anger. 

On Sunday morning, the 2 2d of June, the royal army was 
drawn out in order of battle on Bothwell Moor, then an open 
common, but now converted into a region of pleasant fields 
and fruitful orchards. A deputation from the Presbyterian 
host sought the duke to supplicate for terms of peace. The 
duke received them kindly, but told them they must lay down 
their arms as a preliminary to negotiation ; if they did so, he 
promised he would use his best offices with the king on their 
behalf. This message increased dissensions. Some were for 
yielding ; some thought it was too much to ask them to lay 
down their arms ; some would not listen to any terms with an 
uncovenanted king. Many still imagined themselves secure of 
victory, for the preachers had predicted it, and Donald Cargill 
had declared that the very windle-straws would rise up and 
fight in their favour. 

The River Clyde flowed between the two armies, too deep 
to be forded ; but its banks were connected by a long and 
narrow bridge, with a gateway in the centre. The Covenanters 
had barricaded this gateway ; and three hundred picked men 
were appointed to defend it, under the command of Hackston 
of Rathillet, one of the determined outlaws who had murdered 
the primate. This handful of men kept their post till their 
ammunition failed ; and when they sent for more, they were 
insanely commanded by Hamilton to fall back upon the main 
army. The Royalists now began to defile along the bridge, 
and to form in line on the opposite bank. One hope still re- 
mained for the Covenanters. Had they charged while only a 
part of the royal army was on their side of the river, and still 
imperfectly formed, the day might have been theirs. But such 
promptitude of action was out of the question with such an 
undisciplined and divided rabble. They were already begin- 
ning, to fall into confusion. At the first discharge of artillery, 
the cavalry wheeled about and fled. Some affirmed it was the 
untrained horses that would not stand fire ; others suspected it 
was their riders. In a few minutes more, the whole multitude 

A.D. 1679.] THE PRISONERS. 121 

were fleeing from the field. Few were slain in the action, but 
about four hundred were butchered in the flight, and upwards 
of a thousand surrendered themselves as prisoners. 1 

Next day the prisoners were marched to Edinburgh ; and as 
there was no jail large enough to hold them, they were driven 
like a flock of sheep into the Greyfriars Churchyard. They 
were kept there for four or five months, day and night, exposed 
to all weathers, and guarded by sentries, placed at the gate 
and along the walls. There were two ministers among them 
— King and Kid — and they were both hanged at the Grass- 
market. Five others were sent to Magus Moor, and executed 
there, as a bloody atonement for the murder of Sharp. Two 
hundred and fifty were destined for Barbadoes, to be sold as 
slaves. They were huddled together in the hold of a small 
vessel at Leith, and began to experience all the horrors of the 
middle passage. But their miseries were not long continued. 
The vessel was wrecked upon one of the Orkney Islands dur- 
ing a storm ; and as the hatchways were nailed down, two 
hundred of them went to the bottom. Those who escaped the 
fatal shipment appear to have signed a bond pledging them- 
selves to keep the peace, and, upon doing so, were liberated. 

Towards the end of July, through the humane exertions of 
Monmouth, an Act of Indemnity was passed to all who had 
been at Bothwell, on condition that they solemnly promised 
never to appear in arms against his Majesty again, and 
abstained from frequenting field conventicles. 2 About the 
same time, an act was published allowing the Presbyterian 
ministers not yet indulged to preach and administer the sacra- 
ments in private houses, if they desisted from holding meet 
ings in the fields. Comparatively few took advantage of the 
Act of Indemnity ; and the third Indulgence, as it was called, 
was soon withdrawn. 

The south and west were again overrun with a lawless 
soldiery, eagerly seeking out those who had been present at 
Bothwell, and had not accepted the Indemnity. Torture and 
threats were employed to get at the truth. The thumbkins, 

1 This account of the Rising at Bothwell is taken from Russel, Wodrow, 
Law, and Crookshank. Sir Walter Scott, in his "Old Mortality," has 
given very vivid pictures of the battles of Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge ; 
and though he has felt himself at liberty to draw upon his fancy for the 
details, he has in the great outlines observed historical accuracy. He is 
wrong in representing General Dalziel as present at the battle. His com- 
mission as lieutenant-general did not arrive till the day the battle was 

2 A copy of the proclamation is given in Wodrow, vol. iii. p. 118. 


which are said to have been introduced from Russia by 
General Dalziel, were found to be an effectual and portable 
instrument for eliciting secrets amid screams of agony. When 
these were not at hand, lighted matches, placed between the 
fingers, were found to do almost as well. It is probable that 
the imagination, filled with the tales of horror which are still 
told at the firesides of the peasantry, may have exaggerated 
the truth ; but it must have been a melancholy and miserable 

There had grown up among the persecuted Presbyterians a 
class of men who were sterner, more uncompromising, more 
fanatical than their brethren. They utterly reprobated the 
Indulgence ; they refused to pay cess ; they threw off their 
allegiance to a king who had violated his Covenant engage- 
ments. They refused to have any communion with their 
more compliant Presbyterian brethren, and formed themselves 
into a number of distinct societies, and called themselves the 
Society people. Their most distinguished minister was 
Richard Cameron, and from him they were sometimes named 
Cameronians ; as, from the life of outlaws which many of them 
led among the moors and mountains, they were frequently 
spoken of as the Wanderers, the Hillmen, or the wild Whigs. 

On the 3rd of June 1680, Hall of Haughhead, known to be 
one of these, travelling in company with Donald Cargill, was 
killed at Queensferry in a scuffle with the Governor of Black- 
ness, who wished to apprehend him. On his person was found 
an unsigned paper, afterwards known as the Queensferry 
Declaration, in which the king was solemnly rejected as having 
manifestly rejected God ; monarchy was repudiated, as leading 
to tyranny ; and a resolution taken to set up a government in 
obedience to the commandment in Exodus xviii. 21 — " More- 
over thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men, such 
as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness, and place such 
over them, to be rulers of thousands and rulers of hundreds, 
rulers of fifties and rulers of tens." 1 

This paper was never recognised by the party to whom it 
was attributed ; but on the 22d of June a band of twenty-one 
men, headed by Cameron and Cargill, entered the burgh of 
Sanquhar, marched up its street with drawn swords, and halt- 
ing at the market-cross, read and then posted up a declaration, 
in which they disowned Charles Stewart because of his tyranny 

1 A copy of this singular document is to be found among Somers's 
Tracts, vol. i. col. 2, p. 502. It is also given by Wodrow, vol. iii. p. 207. 


and breaches of Covenant, and proclaimed themselves pre- 
pared, as the Lord should give them opportunity, to do to all 
who were against them as they had done to them. 1 Thus 
these twenty-one men manfully threw off their allegiance, and 
proclaimed war to the knife against government. They 
henceforward refused to have any intercourse with their 
brethren who recognised the king, and banded themselves 
together by a mutual bond of defence. We may laugh at 
them as mad fanatics for thus desperately kicking against the 
pricks ; but, casting aside the rashness of the enterprise, w r ere 
they not well warranted to do as they did ? Had they not 
suffered sufficiently to entitle them to throw off their allegi- 
ance ? Had not the limit of endurance been reached \ and 
are there not instincts in the bosom which at this point con- 
vert obedience into resistance ? Did not the parliaments of 
England and Scotland, nine years afterwards, do exactly what 
these twenty-one desperate men now did? The deed may then 
have been more respectable, but was it more righteous, and 
was it not much less heroic ? These men were bigoted, but 
they were self-devoted. Like the old Roman, they leaped into 
the gulf, and saved their country. 

This bold defiance hurled at the throne led to a royal pro- 
clamation, in which, after some uncomfortable recollections of 
the fate of Charles I., large rewards were offered for the ap- 
prehension of Cameron and Cargill, dead or alive. Meanwhile 
these famous outlaws, accompanied by a few followers, wan- 
dered about the moorland districts of Galloway and Ayr, 
preaching whenever an opportunity presented ; and the poorest 
peasant scorned the five thousand merks offered for their head. 
But the career of Cameron was now nearly run. On the 20th 
of July a band of sixty-three of the wild Whigs were surprised 
by the military at Airsmoss, in the parish of Auchinleck. They 
resolved to fight, and the indomitable Hackston took the com- 
mand. But, as might have been expected, the twofold num- 
bers and higher discipline of the Royalists bore down the 
stubborn resistance of the rebels. Cameron was killed. He 
is said to have prayed, before the battle, " Lord, take the ripe 
and spare the green ; " and perhaps in his own death his 
prayer was answered. Hackston, covered with wounds, was 

1 This document is also given both by Somers (vol. i. col. 2, p. 509), 
and Wodrow (vol. iii. p. 212). Its title is characteristic — " The Declara- 
tion and Testimony of the True Presbyterian, Anti-Prelatic, and Anti- 
Erastian and Persecuted Party in Scotland." 


taken a prisoner, marched into Edinburgh, with the bloody 
head of Cameron carried before him, and shortly afterwards 
condemned to death, with accompaniments which revolt every 
sentiment of humanity, and make us believe that Scotland was 
yet in the depths of barbarism. First his right hand, and then 
his left, was cut off. He was then hanged, but cut down 
before life was extinct ; and his heart, still palpitating, torn 
from his bosom, and held up to the people as the heart of a 
traitor. 1 

Donald Cargill now alone remained to bear up the banner 
of the Covenant. Though persecuted, he was not forsaken. 
He suddenly appeared in different parts of the country ; the 
faithful few rallied around him, and he preached to them those 
thrilling sermons about a perjured king, a broken Covenant, 
and a sinful land, which their souls loved. In the month of 
October a larger assemblage than usual gathered around him 
at Torwood in Stirlingshire ; and after one of his characteristic 
sermons, the dauntless Covenanter solemnly excommunicated, 
and delivered over to the devil, the King, the Duke of York, 
the Duke of Lauderdale, General Dalziel, Sir George Mac- 
kenzie, and some others, for their breach of Covenant and 
persecution of God's people. 2 Many regard this as simply 
ludicrous — a hair-brained fanatic, fed upon the husks of Old 
Testament history, and rendered savage by the savage life 
which he led, venting his impotent curses upon the Lord's 
anointed. Others imagine it verges upon the sublime — a 
solitary wanderer, but of earnest mind, strong in the righteous- 
ness of his cause, strong in the conviction that his anathemas 
pronounced on earth would be ratified in heaven, giving over 
wicked men, though high and mighty, to God's just judgments. 
They think they see in it a counterpart to Martin Luther's 
burning the Pope's bull at the gates of jWittemberg. It is 
certain that in a little while Donald Cargill died on the scaf- 
fold, and Charles II. died in his bed ; but yet a little while 
again, and the Stewarts were driven from the throne, and the 
principles of the Covenanters, shorn of their extravagances, 

1 See the Cloud of Witnesses. Also Wotlrow, vol. iii. The skirmish at 
Airsmoss has been celebrated in verses full of poetic genius, written by a 
shepherd lad. 

- The form of this extraordinary anathema is to be found in the Appendix 
to the Cloud of Witnesses. Both Wodrow and the " Cloud" make the 
Torwood meeting held in September ; but the royal proclamation, issued 
in consequence of it, speaks of it as having been held in October. For a 
copy of the proclamation, see Wodrow, vol. iii. pp. 229, 230. 

A.D. 1681.] THE DUKE OF YORK. 12$ 

6S In the year 1681 the Duke of York came 

down to Scotland. He had a purpose in coming. 
His conversion to Popery was no longer a secret, and the 
English House of Commons more than once had passed a bill 
to cut off his succession to the throne, and it was only the 
opposition of the king and the peers which had prevented it 
from becoming law. It was confidently anticipated that the 
ever- tractable parliament of Scotland would show an example 
of passive obedience to the Commons of England. On the 
28th of July the Estates assembled at Edinburgh, and the 
Duke of York took his place as the representative of Majesty. 
Their first act, according to custom, was for securing the Pro- 
testant religion as then established. Their second act 
seemed to be made in mockery of the first. It was anent the 
succession to the imperial crown. It asserted that the kings 
of the realm derived their royal power from God Almighty 
alone ; that they succeeded to it by lineal descent ; that no 
difference of religion, that no acts of parliament, could 
alter the succession ; and that any one who gainsaid this 
was guilty of high treason. Thus the old uncompromising 
Protestantism of the nation succumbed before the Divine 
right of kings. 

These acts were followed by another, which, under the plea 
of securing the peace of the country, enacted new rigours 
against the frequenters of conventicles. But the act which 
made the greatest noise was known as the Test Act. It re- 
quired every person who held a public office, from the privy 
councillor down to the exciseman, to swear that he owned the 
true Protestant religion as explained in the Confession of 1567; 
that he acknowledged the king to be supreme in all causes 
and over all persons, both civil and ecclesiastical ; that he 
would never consult about any matter of State without his 
Majesty's express license or command ; and never endeavour 
any alteration in the government of the country. 1 The parlia- 
ment showed that patriotism had long since left the house 
where they sat by passing this act, and dooming the country 
to oriental despotism. 

The act strikes with impartial severity both Papists and 
Presbyterians. But it soon appeared that it was to be put in 
execution only against the latter. The royal family was spe- 
cially excluded, although it was argued that the faith of the 
king was of infinitely more importance to the welfare of the 
1 Acts of the Scotch Parliament, Charles II., August 1681. 


nation than that of the subject. There were Papists both in 
the civil and military departments, and they were little troubled ; 
but we shall soon find the test made a terrible engine of op- 
pression against the unhappy Presbyterians. 

But this was not all. There were difficulties which had not 
been anticipated. The Confession of 1567 had long lain 
neglected, but people now began to look into it, and the 
Episcopalians found several things in it which they did not 
like. Some even said that one clause contemplated the pos- 
sibility of resistance to royal authority, as might have been 
expected from the men who framed it, and that thus the oath 
was self-contradictory. 1 Of course it was not to be expected 
that the rigid Presbyterians could acknowledge the king's 
supremacy in ecclesiastical causes ; but the Episcopalians 
stumbled at the same thing. The royal prerogative might 
very properly be employed in overturning Presbyterianism, 
but it might not be put forth to meddle with Episcopacy. 
Had not the bishops their sees jure divino, just as the king 
had his throne? Politicians had objections of another kind. 
If they swore, as they were required, never to attempt any 
alteration in the government either of the Church or State, 
how could parliament exercise its functions — how could it pass 
even a single act ? 

The opposition of the clergy became so formidable that an 
explanation tending to smooth down difficulties, proposed by 
the Bishop of Edinburgh, was converted into an act of 
Council, and received the sanction of the king. This satis- 
fied some, who forthwith took the test. Others, however, 
argued that the explanation was inconsistent with the test, 
and that no act of Council could alter the obvious meaning of 
words. 2 Nearly eighty of the clergy remained firm, and left 
their parishes rather than take an oath which their consciences 
condemned. 3 

The Earl of Argyll delayed as long as possible taking the 
test ; and when he could put off no longer, he prefaced it by 
a statement, that he took it only in so far as it was consistent 
with itself and with the Protestant religion, and that he did 

1 The clause referred to is in chapter xxiv., Of the Civil Magistrate. 
It 'runs : " Therefore we confess and avow that such as resist the 
supreme powers (doing that which pertaineth to their charge) do resist 
God's ordinance, and therefore cannot be guiltless." The parenthesis 
was thought to put a limit upon the magistrate's power and the subject's 

2 Wodrow's Hist., vol. iii. p. 309. :; Burnet's Hist., vol. ii. 

A.D. 1681-82.] THE TEST ACT. 1 27 

not understand it as precluding him from attempting, in a 
lawful way, any alteration in Church or State, which might be 
in accordance with his loyalty and religion. This explanation 
was accepted at the time, and by the invitation of the Duke 
of York he resumed his seat at the council-table ; but a few 
days afterwards he was committed to the Castle of Edinburgh, 
charged with treason, for having given to a statute a meaning 
which parliament did not intend that it should bear. When his 
trial came on, the judges, by a majority of one, found that 
the libel was relevant — in other words, that the explanation 
which Argyll had given of his oath was treason ; and as he 
did not attempt to deny the fact, he was found guilty. 1 He 
managed, however, to escape from the castle in disguise, and 
fled to Holland ; but the abuse of law, the disregard of 
decency in his trial, made a deep impression on the public 
mind, long accustomed though it had been to see the courts 
of justice prostituted to the purposes of oppression. " I 
know nothing of the Scotch law," said Halifax to King 
Charles ; " but this I know, that we should not hang a dog 
here on the grounds on which my Lord Argyll has been sen- 
tenced." 2 

In January 1682, about fifty of the unflinching 
Cameronians entered the town of Lanark, with 
arms in their hands, published a declaration of their peculiar 
opinions, and burned the Test and Succession Acts. The 
Council, apparently copying their example, a few days after- 
wards burned the Solemn League and Covenant, together with 
the Rutherglen, Sanquhar, and Lanark Declarations, at the 
Cross of Edinburgh. 

In the month of May the Duke of York returned to Eng- 
land, and the bishops and the Council vied with each other in 
loading him with adulation. He went, but the blessings of 
the country did not go with him. His harsh and imperious 
temper, independently of his religious belief, made him to be 
disliked. It had been observed that when poor wretches were 
tortured before the Council, while the other Councillors fled 
from the room, the duke kept his seat and looked on, just as 
if some curious experiments were being made. 3 

During the years 1682 and 1683, the lawless soldiery con- 
tinued to harass the country. They carried terror amid the 
quiet dwellers in the villages, they pillaged farmhouses, they 

1 Wodrow, vol. iii. pp, 312-39. See also Burnet, vol. ii. 

2 Lord Macaulay's Hist., vol. ii. p. 115. 3 Burnet's Hist., vol. ii. 


traversed the loneliest moors. Armed with almost irrespon- 
sible powers, the worst passions of human nature were 
developed within them ; accustomed to act as the agents of 
government in exacting free quarters, levying fines, and secur- 
ing prisoners, they imagined themselves entitled to do just as 
they pleased ; and the people in general, though scandalised 
by their licentiousness and blasphemies, and burning under a 
sense of wrong, submitted to their extortions and insults, 
knowing how dangerous it was to give them offence. Strange 
stories, however, were told of their great wickedness ; of how, 
in their drunken revels, they sometimes personated devils, 
called each other by satanic names, and caricatured the pun- 
ishments of hell. 1 

Conspicuous among the persecutors of the unhappy Pres- 
byterians was John Grahame of Claverhouse. We have 
already seen him defeated at Drumclog ; but he afterwards 
attempted to wipe out the disgrace at Bothwell, where he 
commanded a troop of cavalry, and cut down the fugitives 
without mercy, as they fled from the field. Raised to the 
dignity of a Privy Councillor for his services, we now find him 
scouring the west country, and acquiring his unenviable 
renown, as a persecutor of the saints. His chief work con- 
sisted in dispersing field-preachings, marching reluctant Pres- 
byterians to the Episcopal Church, ferretting out conscientious 
peasants who would not take the Abjuration Oath, and hang- 
ing them on a tree or blowing their brains out with a pistol — 
sometimes with his own hand. In his letters he boasts that 
on his approach the people fled from their houses and hid 
themselves, that no suspected person lay in his bed within 
forty miles of where he was, and that where he read the lists 
every Sunday after sermon few were found absent, so com- 
pletely had he dragooned them into conformity. He is said 
to have been of a slim figure, with almost feminine features, 
and graceful manners ; but the wanderers whom he hunted 
on the hills represented him as a monster rather than a man. 
Bullets were said to rebound harmless from his body, which 
was believed to be sold to the devil ; and the very horse 
which he rode was supposed to possess a charmed life. His 
apologists say that his rigour resulted not from any cruelty of 
nature, but from his Royalist principles. But surely an officer, 
even under Charles and James, might be loyal without being 
inhuman. It is certain he was hot-tempered, cold-hearted, 
1 Wodrow's History, vol. iv. p. 242. 

a.d. 16S2-83.] SIR GEORGE MACKENZIE. 1 29 

and greedy in the highest degree. He was continually clam- 
ouring for forfeited estates, and he never accounted to the 
Treasury for the fines which he levied. His hope of securing 
such booty seems to have been the great spur to his diligence. 
If he had exterior accomplishments, they were only exterior. 
He was scarcely half-educated, and his letters are miserable 
productions. Without putting too much stress on the saying 
of Scott, that " he spelled like a washerwoman," we can say 
that the letters of Rob Roy are in every way superior to those 
of John Grahame, Viscount Dundee. In intelligence and 
literary expression, the Highland reiver stands clearly ahead of 
the Jacobite cavalier. 

Sir George Mackenzie occupied the same place in the 
forum which Grahame occupied in the field. If the colonel 
of dragoons caught a frequenter of conventicles, the Lord 
Advocate was sure to secure his conviction. He would brow- 
beat witnesses and juries for the pleasure of sending him to 
the gallows. Yet Sir George Mackenzie had his line of duty, 
beyond which he would not go ; and when James VII. began 
his Popish plots, he resigned his place. Still further, he was 
not only an able lawyer, but a scholarly man, and contributed 
to the literature of his country, " Institutes of the Law of Scot- 
land f " A Defence of the Royal Line f a " History of His 
Times ;" and " Essays upon several Moral Subjects." His 
conversation sparkled with wit. Dryden declares that he was 
unacquainted with the beautiful turn of words and thoughts in 
poetry till they were explained to him in a conversation " with 
that noble wit of Scotland, Sir George Mackenzie." But no 
amount of wisdom or wit could shield such a man from hatred 
and scorn. After the Revolution, knowing that he was uni- 
versally disliked in Scotland, he took refuge in Oxford, and 
employed himself in writing a " Vindication of his Govern- 
ment," but he died suddenly, and his pamphlet was not pub- 
lished till after his death ; and now it only adds the reproach 
of mendacity to that of blood-thirstiness. Thus in the lawyer, 
if not in the soldier, like the tiger with its glossy skin, unre- 
lenting cruelty wore the fine livery of politeness and learning. 

It were endless to chronicle every instance of oppression 
which occurred. The mind, in fact, turns away with loathing 
from the recital. Multitudes were ruinously fined ; others 
were sent to the West Indies as slaves ; others were hanged. 
Many, succumbing to these terrors, gave a reluctant attend- 
ance at church ; others turned their eyes towards America as 

vol. 11. 1 


a place of refuge from their manifold wrongs. We shall relate 
only two cases which happened about this time, and which 
very well exemplify what was going on. 

Mr Weir of Blakewood, factor to the Marquis of Douglas, 
was accused of treason for having kept company with a man 
said to have been at Bothwell. Blakewood pleaded that the 
man referred to had never been marked out in any government 
proclamation as a traitor, that he had been living for years 
quietly in his own house without molestation, and that there 
was no proof that he knew him to have been in arms against 
the government. The Court, however, held that the law must 
presume that he was cognisant of the fact, and upon that found 
him guilty of treason, as an aider and abettor of traitors. 1 
The day of his execution was fixed ; and though he was sub- 
sequently reprieved, it was felt that after this no man's neck 
was safe from a halter. 

A poor ignorant woman, named Christian Fyfe, was brought 
before the Justiciary Court, and at once confessed that she had 
assaulted the Episcopal minister in the Old Kirk, at the end 
of the sermon, as she thought him profaning the Sabbath. 
She further acknowledged that she thought the king no lawful 
king, the judges no lawful judges ; that it was good service to 
slay the bishops, and that she herself had gone to the church 
not to hear but to beat the minister, as she believed him to be 
no lawful minister, but a Judas and a devil. The Court might 
very properly have sent this poor creature to a lunatic asylum, 
or committed her to the care of her friends ; but instead of 
that, they sentenced her to be hanged. 2 The Privy Council, 
however, had not the effrontery to carry out the sentence of 
the Judges, and reprieved her, on the consideration that she 
must be mad. 3 

The year 1683 was signalised by the Rye-house Plot. The 
English conspirators, among whom were Monmouth, Shaftes- 
bury, Russell, and Sidney, knowing the sufferings of the Scotch 
Presbyterians, had opened up communications with them, and 
some of their chiei men, among whom was Baillie of Jervis- 
wood, entered keenly into the plot. A correspondence with 
the Earl of Argyll in Holland was also begun, and a descent 
upon Scotland for the purpose of overturning the government 
proposed. It would further appear that some of the English 
plotters had canvassed plans for the assassination of the king 

3 Burnet's History, vol. ii. p. 141. 

2 Wodrow's History, vol. iii. p. 410. 3 Fountainhall's Decisions. 


and the duke ; but the principal conspirators always denied 
their knowledge of such designs. The discovery of the plot 
not only sent Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney to the 
scaffold, but brought new calamities upon Scotland. 

In March 1684, Sir Hugh Campbell of Cessnock was 
indicted before the Criminal Court. He was suspected of 
being implicated in the Rye-house Plot, but as this could not 
be proved, he was charged with harbouring intercommuned 
rebels, and being connected with the rising at Bothwell. The 
proof fairly broke down, and notwithstanding the efforts of the 
advocate to browbeat the jury, they returned a verdict of not 
guilty. Notwithstanding the verdict, Cessnock was still de- 
tained in prison, on the plea that he was the king's prisoner, 1 
and his estates were divided among the minions of the court. 

The English authorities had laid hold of a Mr Spence, who 
had been secretary to the Earl of Argyll, and of the Rev. 
William Carstares, afterwards Principal of the University of 
Edinburgh, both of whom were suspected to be in possession 
of secrets in regard to the Rye-house Plot. But how were 
these secrets to be extorted from them ? There was no proof, 
and the English law humanely forbade the use of torture. 
Not to be beat, the government sent them down to Scotland, 
where the disgraceful practice had been revived. Spence was 
subjected to the torture of the boot \ but he remained firm. 
He was next delivered to General Dalziel, who appointed some 
soldiers to guard him night and day, and prevent him from 
closing his eyes for a moment in sleep. For some days this 
went on, and still he was silent. Torture was again threatened, 
when he agreed to reveal all that he knew, as it was almost all 
known already ; but in one of the letters which he deciphered, 
Carstares was mentioned. 

Carstares' time was now come. The king's smith came into 
court with thumbkins of an improved construction, and these 
being fastened upon his hand and tightly screwed, the sweat 
streamed over his brow and down his face with the terrible 
agony he endured. The Duke of Hamilton and the Earl of 
Queensferry could not stand the sight ; and after remarking to 
the chancellor that they saw the poor man would rather die 
than confess, they left the room. The chancellor only ordered 
the executioner to screw the instrument tighter, and Carstares 
screamed out that all his bones were broken. For an hour and 
a half this dreadful torment was endured, but still no secret was 
1 Wodrow's History, vol. iv. pp. 72-84. 


let out. It was now proposed to put the boots upon his legs, 
but the executioner being a novice could not adjust the 
wedges, and so Carstares escaped the double torment. Tor- 
ture having failed, negotiation was tried, and Carstares, in order 
to avoid a renewal of his sufferings, undertook to answer 
certain questions, provided that he received a full pardon, and 
was never used as a witness against any one. His terms were 
accepted, he answered the questions agreed upon, and was 
afterwards allowed to retire to Holland, with many important 
secrets still buried in his breast. 1 

Baillie of Jerviswood had been lying in prison for some 
months, sick, and to all human appearance dying. But the 
criminal prosecutor, Sir George Mackenzie, was relentless, and 
resolved to anticipate the slow hand of disease. Jerviswood 
was raised from his bed, and brought into court, charged with 
being accessory to the Rye-house Plot. The evidence was 
so meagre that the advocate was compelled, contrary to pro- 
mise, to employ Carstares' declaration to confirm it, and thus 
secured a verdict of guilty. This done, the feeble old invalid 
was hurried, with scarce an hour's delay, from the bar to the 
gibbet. All his contemporaries bear witness to his learning 
and worth, his zeal for liberty, and his devotion to religion. 2 

The discovery of the Rye-house Plot, and the continuance 
of conventicles, led the government to increase their cruelty 
against the Presbyterians. After fourteen years of bloody 
persecution, it was announced that gentleness had failed, and 
that severity must be tried. The simple fact that in the 
month of May a proclamation was issued, with a roll of 
nearly two thousand persons, who are described as fugitives 
from law, and destined to condign punishment, gives an idea 
of the sad state into which the country was sunk. 3 But it was 
against the Society people that the sharpest edge of the per- 
secution was turned. " They were killed all the day long, 
they were counted as sheep for the slaughter." Their utter 
extermination seemed to be determined upon. Every man's 
hand was against them, and they naturally turned their hand 
against every man. They had already thrown off their 
allegiance, they now resolved to make it known that they 
would not submit to be tamely butchered. In the beginning 

1 M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, pp. 19, 20. Wodrow's History, vol, 

2 Wodrow's History, vol. iv. pp. 105-12. Crookshank, &c. 

3 This proscription roll is given by Wodrow, vol. iv. 


of November, they posted up at several market-crosses and 
parish churches throughout Nithsdale, Ayr, Lanark, and Gal- 
loway, their Apologetic Declaration. In this document they 
referred to their hardships, they proclaimed their principles, 
they repudiated the idea of killing all who differed from them ; 
but they stated their stern resolve to regard all who took a 
part in their persecution — judges, soldiers, informers, false 
witnesses — as enemies to God and His covenanted work, and 
to punish them accordingly. They warned all bloody Doegs 
and flattering Ziphites to beware, for they would not be so 
slack-handed in the future as they had been in the past — 
" All that is in peril is not lost, all that is delayed is not for- 
given;" and, finally, they called upon all to come and 
strengthen their hands in holding up the standard of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, as He was about to appear and bring light 
out of darkness. 1 

These desperate men had determined to take law into their 
own hands. Were they justified in doing so? Were their 
principles the principles of patriots, or the principles of 
assassins ? William Wallace and Robert Bruce took the law 
into their own hands, and slew their enemies wherever they 
were to be found. Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads took 
the law into their own hands, and smote the Cavaliers with 
the edge of the sword. Were they simply assassins? Is it 
the righteousness of the cause, or the numbers who join it, or 
its ultimate success, which is its true warrant? These are 
fine questions for the casuist to determine. 

The Apologetic Declaration carried terror into many 
breasts. Several curates, afraid of their lives, abandoned 
their parishes. Magistrates and informers could not go out 
in the dark, scarcely in the day, for fear of being shot down 
by some unseen hand. The very soldiery required to be 
more on their guard. A keen marksman from behind a dyke 
might empty a saddle, and be off in a twinkling. But govern- 
ment had now a stronger pretext than ever to hunt these men 
down as professed murderers ; and they did not fail to take 
advantage of it. An oath, solemnly abjuring the Declaration, 
was formed. Different officers were commissioned to proceed 
to different parts of the country, with a sufficient military 
force. The inhabitants were to be brought before them, and 
if any one hesitated to take the Abjuration Oath, he was to be 
shot upon the spot. To make matters still more sure, no one 
1 A copy of this document is given by Wodrow, vol. iv. p. 149. 


was to be allowed to pass from one part of the country to 
another, without carrying with him a certificate of his loyalty, 
and this he could obtain only by taking the Abjuration Oath. 

We now enter upon the most melancholy period in the 
history of the Church. The furnace into which the children 
of the Covenant were to be cast was heated seven times. 
Hitherto the law, however abused, had afforded some security 
to the lieges ; but now all law was to be laid aside, and they 
were to be handed over to the tender mercies of a soldiery, 
brutalized by the work they had to do. No man was safe 
from their violence. Their form of process was very simple 
and very brief. A few questions generally decided their 
verdict. Do you think the slaughter of the archbishop was 
murder? Was the rising at Bothwell rebellion? Will you 
take the Test Oath? Will you take the Abjuration Oath? 
Will you pray for the king ? The peasantry were generally 
too conscientious to tell a lie, often too scrupulous to take an 
oath, and sometimes too simple to understand the meaning of 
the questions which were put; and the answers which they 
gave determined whether they were to live or die. Sentence 
being pronounced, a file of soldiers with loaded carbines 
carried it into instant execution. The victim was asked 
to draw his bonnet over his eyes, and the next moment he 
fell dead or dying to the ground. Thus many were shot by 
the wayside, in the fields, at their own door. The soldiers 
had their own code of honour, and were generally unwilling 
to shoot women, but women did not therefore escape. Tied 
to stakes within tide-mark, they were left to perish in the 
advancing waves. If there be some who at all times regard 
life as a misfortune, inasmuch as they would rather have never 
been born than have to die, how much more bitter must they 
have felt existence to be when life was thus linked with a 
continual dread of a violent death. 

But while these scenes were going on, some of the principal 
actors were removed from the stage. In 1682 the Duke of 
Lauderdale died. In 1684 Archbishop Leighton breathed 
his last. Ten years before this he had retired from his 
bishopric and gone to Broadhurst in Sussex, weary of be- 
holding the strife of religious parties, and hopeless of doing 
good. He had often expressed a wish that he might die in an 
inn \ he would there be free from the lamentations of friends, 
which disturb the preparations of the parting spirit, and 
would be like a pilgrim about to start for his heavenly home ; 


and in an inn he died — the Bell Inn in Warwick Lane. 1 In 
February of the following year, a very different man was called 
to his account. Charles II. ascended the throne as the choice 
of the nation, rather than as its hereditary prince; but he forgot 
the history of his father, and the incidents of his own early life, 
and reigned as an arbitrary king. The Scots had poured out 
their blood like water for him at Dunbar and Worcester, and all 
they got in return was twenty-five years of cruel persecution. 
He is said to have had an exquisite taste, and most insinuating 
manners; but it is certain he was utterly destitute of principle. 
What is more, as if trained in the school of Hobbes, he believed 
all others as destitute of it as himself; and that modesty, 
virtue, and piety were but respectable names for hypocrisy and 
selfishness. In all his bloody work he had not even the excuse 
of sincerity. He degraded England from a first-class power 
into a pensioner of France; he inflicted greater sufferings 
upon Scotland than any monarch before or since ; he scanda- 
lized the whole country by his open profligacy ; and finally he 
gave the lie to the religion he had professed all his life, by 
receiving on his deathbed the sacrament from a Roman 
Catholic priest. 

The accession of James VII. brought no relief to the 
suffering Presbyterians. His harsh temper, despotic principles, 
and Roman faith gave rise to a well-grounded alarm that not 
only Presbyterianism, but Protestantism, was in danger. He, 
indeed, exercised his attribute of mercy, by publishing an Act 
of Indemnity ; but it extended only to the poorest peasantry, 
and required the oath of allegiance to be taken before it could 
be claimed. Otherwise the v/ork of persecution went on. 
The Privy Council, the circuit courts, the military commis- 
sions, were all busy. Four men coming home from hearing 
Renwick preach were intercepted by a party of soldiers, and 
three of them were shot. Captain Bruce surprised six of the 
wanderers in Lochinkit Moor, in Galloway. Four of them 
were shot where they stood, and the other two were taken to 
Irongray, and hanged upon a tree. John Semphill lived 
quietly with his wife and children in the parish of Dailly. 
He had never borne arms against the government; but he 
abstained from going to church, and had sometimes given 
harbour to the poor wretches who had been intercommuned, 
and who, impelled by nakedness and want, sought his door. 
One evening his house was suddenly surrounded by the 
1 Burnet's Own Times, vol. ii. p. 206. 


military; and when he attempted to escape by a window, 
some of them discharged their pieces at him, and he fell dead. 
John Brown of Priesthill, a poor man who earned a livelihood 
as a carrier and by cultivating a small moorland farm, was 
with little ceremony shot by Claverhouse at his own door, and 
in presence of his pregnant wife. Two girls of the name of 
Wilson, the elder of whom was eighteen, and the younger 
thirteen years of age, were sentenced to be drowned for 
refusing the Abjuration Oath. The younger sister was saved, 
upon the payment of a hundred pounds sterling by her father. 
The elder, and a poor widow named M'Lauchlan, were tied to 
stakes within flood-mark in the River Blednock. The girl saw 
her aged companion in tribulation painfully perish, as she had 
been purposely fastened farthest out in the tide. Still her 
faith failed not; and though importuned by her friends to 
save her life by praying for the king and taking the oath, she 
steadfastly refused. Calmly she prepared herself for heaven, 
by singing psalms till her voice was choked by the slowly 
rising water ; and, a little after, the slight ripple, and the air- 
bell rising to the surface, told she had breathed her last. 1 
Such were some of the scenes witnessed by Scotland in the 
early summer of 1685. 

On the 3d day of April the Scottish Parliament met. The 
king, in his letter, declared his intention to maintain the pre- 
rogative in all its lustre, as the surest safeguard of the people's 
interests, and his resolution to protect their religion as estab- 
lished by law, and root out the murderers and assassins who 
neither feared God nor honoured the king. The Marquis of 
Queensberry, who acted as Commissioner, and the Earl of 
Perth, who had risen to the high post of Chancellor of the 
Kingdom by apostatising to Popery, echoed in their speeches 
the sentiments of the royal letter. The first act, as usual, was 
for the security of the Protestant religion. The second act 
was a declaration and offer of duty. The Estates humbly 
acknowledged the great blessings which they owed " to the 
sacred race of their most glorious kings, and to the solid, 
absolute authority wherewith they were invested by the first 

1 Wodrow, book iii. chap. ix. Napier's Memorials of Claverhouse. 
Edinburgh Review, July 1863 (article by the author). Stewart's History 
vindicated in the Wigton Martyrs. The controversy raised by Mr Napier 
regarding the Wigton Martyrs is decisively settled by Dr Stewart's interest- 
ing investigations ; and the question raised by Mr Ayton regarding the 
shooting of John Brown, in a note to the Scottish Cavaliers, is as decisively 
settled by a letter of Claverhouse discovered and published by Mr Napier. 


and fundamental laws of the monarchy/' and offered, with 
their lives and fortunes, to maintain King James VII. against 
all mortals. Having thus forged fetters for the nation, they 
proceeded to put them on. By their fourth act they 
declared, that persons who refused to give evidence in cases 
of treason, conventicles, or church irregularities, should be held 
as guilty of those crimes themselves. By their fifth act, they 
pronounced it to be treason to take or acknowledge the 
Covenants. By their sixth act, they made husbands responsible 
for their wives, in regard to attendance at church. By their 
eighth act, they declared that if any one preached at a conven- 
ticle, either in the house or the fields, or if any one were pre- 
sent as a hearer at a conventicle in the fields, he was to be 
punished with death and confiscation of goods. 1 Thus legis- 
lation against the preaching of the gospel by Presbyterian 
ministers had reached its climax — no more sanguinary law 
could be ordained. It is painful to peruse the records of 
these times, when every vestige of patriotism, and even of pity, 
appears to have left this unhappy country, and the nobles and 
gentry who sat in parliament were not ashamed to glory in 
their servitude, and become the instruments of intolerable 

While the parliament was yet sitting, the Earl of Argyll made 
a hostile landing on the western coast. The sentence of death 
which had been passed upon him for explaining the Test Act 
he considered as dissolving his allegiance ; and safe in Hol- 
land, he had talked with other patriots there, who were exiles 
like himself, of the wrongs of their country, and had planned 
its deliverance. He was connected with the Rye-house Plot. 
Its discovery delayed his projects; but now he thought the 
time was come. After much discussion, a plan of operations 
was agreed upon : Argyll was to effect a landing on the west of 
Scotland, and the Duke of Monmouth was to set sail six days 
later, and make a descent on the south coast of England. 
Macallum More accordingly embarked with a few friends, and, 
after a prosperous voyage, once more put his foot upon his 
native hills. At the summons of the fiery cross his faithful 
clansmen gathered around him, although their country was held 
by the Earl of Athole, as lieutenant, for the Crown. Argyll had 
calculated upon the support of the whole Presbyterian popula- 
tion of Scotland, and published a proclamation, in which he 
declared the abolition of Popery and Prelacy to be among the 
ends of his expedition. But he was deceived in his expecta- 

1 Acts of the Scottish Parliament, James VII., April 1685. 


tions. The disasters of Rullion Green and Bothwell Bridge, 
the executions and dragonades which had followed, had broken 
the spirit of all save the indomitable Cameronians, and the 
Cameronians would not join hands with a man who had dis- 
owned the Covenant, voted for the death of Cargill, and was 
not prepared to embrace their principles. Dissension preceded 
disaster. Argyll wisely wished to clear his country of enemies, 
and secure it as a basis of operations; his coadjutors, Sir 
Patrick Hume and Sir John Cochrane, insisted upon marching 
at once into the lowlands. The evil counsel was adopted ; few 
came to join their standard ; their followers were dispersed ; 
and Argyll himself was caught at Inchinnan, when attempting 
to return to the Highlands in disguise. Carried to Edin- 
burgh, he was doomed to die, not for this hostile descent on 
the country, but, without any trial, in accordance with the in- 
famous sentence previously passed upon him. Like his 
father, he appears greater in his death than in his life. He 
bore with meekness the insults which were put upon him ; 
spent his few remaining days in acts of kindness and the duties 
of religion ; and showed how calmly a Christian could die. 

The prisons of Edinburgh were crowded with persons thrown 
into them for nonconformity. It was resolved to lessen the 
crowd, and make room for new-comers, by sending two hundred 
of them to Dunnottar Castle. The massive ruins of this cele- 
brated fortress still remain to bear witness to its ancient strength. 
It stands on an insulated rock on the Kincardine coast, which 
rises a hundred and fifty feet out of the sea. Into a dark 
underground dungeon in this fortress, still shown as the 
" Whigs' vault," the Covenanters were thrust. Men and 
women were here huddled together, without regard to decency, 
and with scarcely enough of room to sit down. They had one 
small window looking out to the sea, from which they could 
wearily scan its waste of waters. After some days, forty of 
them were removed to a vault smaller and more miserable 
still. The only provision for admitting light and air into this 
horrid hole was a chink in the wall, but the wretched captives 
discovered that a current of fresh air came rushing through a 
crevice near the ground, and here they were accustomed to 
take their turn, lying flat upon the earth, to enjoy the luxury 
of first breathing it. Happily the lady of the governor came 
to visit the dungeons, and with a woman's pitying nature pre- 
vailed upon her husband to make a separation of the sexes, 
and reduce the number of prisoners in the smaller vault. 


Still their condition was sufficiently miserable. They had 
no food, not even water, but what they paid for; and what 
was furnished them was frequently unwholesome. Several of 
them sickened and died. Twenty-five of them contrived to 
creep out of the window, and clamber along the rocks, seek- 
ing to escape from such a chamber of horrors ; but fifteen of 
them were retaken, and punished for their attempt by having 
lighted matches placed between their fingers till the flesh was 
burned to the bone. In some cases inflammation and death 
ensued. They were offered their freedom if they would take 
the oath of allegiance and supremacy, but this they would not 
do ; " they were tortured, not accepting deliverance. " It was 
in the month of May they were sent to Dunnottar. Toward 
the end of July they were brought back to Edinburgh, and 
about a hundred of them, after being first branded with a hot 
iron, were put on board a vessel, to be carried to America as 
slaves. They had scarcely set sail till the fever broke out 
amongst them — the natural result of their long confinement 
and bad fare ; sometimes three and four in a day were com- 
mitted to the deep. The voyage lasted fifteen weeks, and 
before they reached the shore upwards of sixty of them had 
gone to the land "where the wicked cease from troubling, and 
where the weary are at rest." The remnant were fortunately 
declared by the magistrates of New Jersey to be freemen, and 
enjoyed on a foreign soil a happiness which they had never 
enjoyed at home. 1 

James VII. was a Papist, and the Papists in Scotland, like 
the Presbyterians, were a proscribed people. The penal laws 
against them had not been enforced for many long years; but 
the king, not satisfied with this, wished to be able to raise 
them to places of trust and power. He had felt the pulse of 
the English parliament, but its temper was such that he dis- 
solved it. He next resolved to essay the ever-servile parlia- 
ment of the north. To appear consistent, he resolved to stand 
forth as the advocate of liberty of conscience, and to extend a 
pardon to the Presbyterians, while he sought indulgence to the 
Papists. The Estates assembled on the 29th of April, and the 
Earl of Moray, who had pleased the king by apostatising to 
Popery, appeared as Royal Commissioner, and laid before 
them a letter in which his Majesty said that he had sent down, 
to be passed by them, a full and ample indemnity for all crimes 
committed against his person and authority; and that while he 
1 Wodrow's History, vol. iv. pp. 321-31. 


thus extended mercy to his enemies, he could not be forgetful 
of his innocent Roman Catholic subjects, who had ever been 
faithful to the government, and yet lay under many discourage- 
ments ; and that therefore he recommended them to their 
special care. 1 

The parliament were staggered by this. An alarm had 
spread over the country that the Protestant religion was in 
danger : and in truth danger there was. The Church, 
though Prelatic, was yet Protestant ; and the clergy in some 
cases preached against Popery, and in others reminded their 
diocesans of what was their duty as the representatives of the 
Ecclesiastical Estate. 2 The primate and Bishop Paterson, 
imbued with the principles of passive obedience, and feeling 
that they owed all to the king, were favourable to a repeal of 
the penal statutes ; but the Archbishop of Glasgow and the 
Bishops of Galloway and Dunkeld opposed it. In their 
reply to the king, the Estates cautiously promised to take the 
subject into their consideration, and go as great a length as 
they could ; and the Lords of the Articles framed more than 
one draft of a bill to be laid before the parliament ; but in 
these so little was granted, that the Commissioner thought it 
better to abandon the subject altogether, and so the parliament 
was dissolved without anything being done. The prelates who 
had ventured to oppose the king paid for their presumption by 
being removed from their sees. 3 

James was not a man to be baulked of his 
'' purpose, especially in matters of faith. What 
parliament had refused to do, he resolved to do himself, by 
virtue of his own royal prerogative. He abrogated all laws 
against Roman Catholics, allowed them the free and public 
exercise of their religion, and rendered them eligible to all 
places of trust ; and, as a counterpart to this, he suspended, 
by a series of proclamations, all the sanguinary laws which 
had been made against Nonconformists, and allowed the Pres- 
byterians to meet for worship after their own way either in 
private houses or chapels, provided they did not preach dis- 
loyal doctrines, or assemble in the open air. 

In these royal proclamations, emanating from a Popish 
king, we have the principles of that religious toleration which 

1 This letter will be found in Lord Somers's Tracts, vol ii. p. 378. 

2 The clergy of the Diocese of Aberdeen sent a memorial of this kind to 
their bishop. 

3 Wodrow, vol. iv. Somers's Tracts, vol. ii. Burnet, vol. ii. 

A.D. 1687.] TOLERATION FOR ALL. 141 

we now enjoy. But the men of those days justly suspected 
both the motive and design of the monarch. They remem- 
bered he was the member of an intolerant Church, and had 
for many years been a bloody persecutor himself. They 
believed that he tolerated the Presbyterians only to give some 
pretext for tolerating the Papists, and that the Papists would 
not merely be tolerated, but that they would soon officer the 
army, occupy the judgment-seat, crowd the senate, and over- 
throw the Church. The public mind was haunted by fears 
of Popery again coming in like a flood. Was not the king 
absolute ? Had he not in many instances abrogated acts of 
parliament by a stroke of his pen, and might he not any day 
overthrow the whole legislation upon which Protestantism was 
built ? 

Though these sentiments pervaded the whole community, 
the more moderate Presbyterians, joyful in their deliverance, 
wrote a letter full of gratitude to the king, and began to erect 
meeting-houses for the Presbyterian worship. But the 
unswerving Cameronians scorned to acknowledge the act of 
grace. What title had James Stewart to hinder or allow 
them to preach the gospel ? Was not their warrant from the 
King Jesus ? Had they not disowned the whole Stewart race 
as perjured Covenant-breakers, and were they to accept of 
their deceitful favours now ? Besides, did not the proclama- 
tions proceed on the principles of a toleration which they 
reprobated as sinful? 1 They continued their field conven 
tides, and defied the government. After the death of Cargill 
Renwick had been revered as their leader ; and this renowned 
preacher, after eluding the authorities for years, was seized in 
February 1688, and his name is written last on the roll of the 
Scottish martyrs. 

As the dawning of a better day was now streaking the 
horizon, we shall pause in our narrative, and endeavour to give 
a more distinct embodiment to some of the circumstances 
which have been darkly seen in the disastrous night through 
which the Church has passed. 

The change in the worship and government of the Church, 
which the Stewarts had introduced, and against which the 

1 See the Testimony of Some Persecuted Presbyterian Ministers of the 
Gospel, unto the Covenanted Reformation of the Church of Scotland, and 
to the present expediency of continuing to preach the gospel in the fields, 
and against the present Antichristian toleration in its nature and design, 
given in to the ministers in Edinburgh, by Mr James Renwick, upon the 
17th January 1688, — printed in the Appendix to the Cloud of Witnesses. 


people had rebelled, was not so great as might at first be sup- 
posed. When Charles II. set up Episcopacy, he forbade the 
presbyteries to meet till they should be reconstituted as 
bishops' courts ; and for a short time no presbyteries met. 
When the bishops, however, entered upon their office, the pres- 
byteries again began to assemble. But they now met by 
episcopal warrant, were presided over by a permanent moderator 
appointed by the ordinary, and, though still called presbyteries 
by the people, were generally spoken of simply as meetings by 
the clergy. 1 The odious name of Presbytery was as far as 
possible ignored in authoritative quarters ; but old habits of 
speech could not be altogether got rid of. The kirk-sessions 
still continued to discharge their peculiar functions, superin- 
tending the poor and rebuking offenders, who appeared before 
the Episcopal as they had done before the Presbyterian 
congregations — clothed in sackcloth. 2 Synods, now called 
Diocesan Synods, 3 were held, too, in which either the bishop 
in person, or some one specially appointed by him, presided. 
The General Assembly never met. It was a court which the 
Stewarts had never loved, and from James downwards they had 
laboured to destroy it. Even Cromwell had found it trouble- 
some, and while he tolerated the inferior courts as innocuous, 
he had put his iron foot upon it. Scotland had not seen a 
General Assembly since 1651, when Colonel Cotterel dispersed 
the theological conclave, as his master had the parliament of 

When a presentation to a vacant parish was issued, it was 
addressed no longer to the presbytery, but to the bishop ; and 

1 Kirkton says, * * It was a considerable time, even some years, before 
ever ministers were permitted to meet together, so much as for the exer- 
cise of their ministerial gifts ; and when they first met, they were consti- 
tuted a meeting for such and such effects by virtue of the bishop's 
commission, allowing the ministers of the precinct, and secluding the 
elders." (History, p. 141.) I have examined the Presbytery Records of 
Perth, and find, as Kirkton states, the meetings of presbytery, at the 
period, generally spoken of simply as meetings, the name of presbytery 
being studiously avoided. 

2 There are many kirk-session Records in existence belonging to this 
period. Wodrow furnishes us with an Act of the Privy Council in 1684, 
empowering ministers to give in lists of persons qualified to be elders to 
their ordinaries, and authorising letters of horning to be used against any 
such persons as should refuse the office ; and also, with a warrant from the 
Bishop of Edinburgh to the minister of Ormiston to choose elders. See 
vol. iv. p. 178. 

3 See Register of the Diocesan Synod of Dunblane, 1662- 1688, edited 
by Dr Wilson. 

a.d. 1660-88.] FORMS OF WORSHIP. 143 

the presentee was set apart to his work not by Presbyterian, 
but by Episcopal hands. Nor was the solemn ceremony per- 
formed, as before, in the parish church, in the sight of the 
people among whom the minister was to labour in spiritual 
things ; but generally in the cathedral, with few spectators but 
deans and prebendaries. Candidates, however, for the holy 
office were prepared for their work in the old way. After a 
course of training at the university, they were taken upon trial 
by the presbytery, and, if found qualified, were admitted as 
expectants. From these expectants ministers were chosen. 
The ministerial work was unchanged, and appears to have 
been very similar to what it is in the present day. There were 
in general two sermons every Sunday, and it was seldom that 
a manuscript was admitted to the pulpit. 

The form of public worship was little altered. After the ex- 
periment of 1637, it was not thought wise to hazard the liturgy 
of Laud. " The fox Sharp," says Row, "was not much for it, 
only because he had no will to ride the ford where his prede- 
cessor was drowned." No attempt was even made to press the 
Articles of Perth. The prayers w r ere extemporaneous, and the 
Eucharist was administered to communicants sitting around a 
table, and not kneeling at an altar. Upon two things only the 
bishops, and even the presbyteries, appear to have insisted, — 
that the Lord's Prayer should be repeated during the service, 
and the doxology sung at the close of it. 1 The practice of con- 
gregations, however, does not appear to have been uniform. In 
some cases, the ministers compiled a kind of service for them- 
selves. Gilbert Burnet, when parson of Salton, and probably 
a few others, used the English Book of Common Prayer ; but 
in the great majority of instances no liturgy whatever was em- 
ployed. 2 Neither were the prejudices of the people shocked 
by the sight of a surplice, the use of the cross in baptism, or the 
genuflexions of a priest with his face toward the altar. No re- 
ligious anniversary was necessarily observed but that of the 
Restoration • but Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday were 
kept by some. 

1 In the privy censures, at this time common, one of the questions asked 
was, as to whether these things were attended to. See the Records of the 
Presbytery of Perth. 

1 See Life of Burnet prefixed to his History. See also Bishop Sage's 
Fundamental Charter. Bishop Russel's History of the Church, &c, &c. 
In the rabblings which followed the Revolution, it was a common thing to 
burn the prayer-books which were found in the manses, so that the Epis- 
copalians must have used these in private, if not in public. 


The Register of the Diocesan Synod of Dunblane, recently 
published under the enlightened editorship of Dr Wilson, 
throws much light upon the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs 
under the mild rule of Bishop Leighton. Leighton generally 
presided in his Synod, and at the very first meeting in Sep- 
tember 1662, most of the clergy were present. One of his 
great objects seems to have been to improve the worship in 
the churches within his diocese, without offending Presbyterian 
prejudices. Under his direction the Synod ordained on 
several occasions that more attention should be given to 
the reading of Holy Scripture, both of the Old and New 
Testament, and especially of the Psalms. The people were 
to be prohibited from standing about the doors or lying about 
the churchyard while this was being done by the reader ; and 
it was to be done not only between the second and third bells, 
when the people were assembling, but a portion was to be 
read " after the last bell was rung out " and "the minister 
come in." As one reason for this it was alleged that " many 
of our commons cannot read, and so cannot use the Scriptures 
in private." In addition to the lessons from Scripture the 
Ten Commandments and the Creed were " no Lord's day to 
be omitted,'' as "a solemn publication of the law of God, as the 
rule of our life," and a "solemn profession of our believing the 
articles of our Christian faith." The Synod farther ordained 
that the ministers should order the people to give up the irre- 
verent deportment they had contracted in worship, especially 
" their most indecent sitting at prayer." They were to be re- 
commended either to stand or kneel. The clergy were farther 
recommended to have long texts and short sermons, and not 
to have both expositions and sermons at the same meeting, 
that they might not " weary the people." The Lord's Prayer 
was to be recited and the Doxology sung — the latter always 
standing ; but as the injunction was repeated again and again 
so late as 1684, it would appear it was not universally obeyed. 
The Holy Communion was to be taken as frequently as pos- 
sible, at least once a year ; but it was sometimes pleaded that 
it was omitted because neither minister nor people were in a 
frame of mind to partake of it profitably. 1 

In forming an estimate of the state of the Church at this 

time, it must be remembered that a considerable proportion 

of the clergy were still Presbyterian. In round numbers, 

there were nine hundred parishes in Scotland. Only between 

1 Register of the Diocesan Synod of Dunblane, passim. 

a.d. 1660-87.] THE EPISCOPATE. 145 

two and three hundred ministers were ejected; the others were 
allowed to continue in their parishes without any express 
recantation of their principles. When vacancies afterwards 
occurred, they were in some instances filled up by men of 
Episcopal opinions ; but in other instances they were supplied 
by the Presbyterians to whom the indulgence was extended, so 
that the Presbyterian element must in this way have been 
maintained. 1 The whole of these men of course tacitly 
recognised the Episcopate ; and, by taking the Test Oath, 
abjured the most cherished principles of the Covenanting 
times ; but still they were permitted to cling to the old Pres- 
byterian faith, continue the old Presbyterian worship, and 
meet in their old Presbyterian Courts. 

The re-introduction of the Episcopate was, of course, in 
itself a considerable change. The bishops constituted an 
order which, though not new in the Scottish Church, had 
always been disliked, and of late regarded as positively Anti- 
christian. But the Scotch bishops of this period were free 
of that pomp which has made them the subjects of envy, 
both in the Roman and the Anglican Church. They were 
indeed members both of the parliament and the Privy Council, 
and the primate took precedence of the chancellor \ but their 
episcopal revenues were comparatively small. The combined 
income of all the bishoprics in Scotland did not exceed^4ooo 
sterling. The primacy is indeed said to have been worth 
;£iooo, but Argyll yielded only ^130, and Dunblane ;£i2o. 2 
These sums, however, were equal in value to more than three 
times the same amount in the present day. 

One should have imagined that when the nation was allowed 
its t Calvinistic creed, and its ancient worship, it would not 
have been driven to rebellion by the changes in the ecclesi- 
astical polity of the country to which we have referred. And, 
in truth, by far the greatest part of the country did succumb. 
The large district north of the Tay was little troubled with 

1 Kirkton says — " There were not many of the old ministers that suf- 
fered for their profession, and the whole number of them made not up the 
third part of the company that were witnesses for the Covenant and way of 
the Church of Scotland. It was indeed thought strange, that those who 
had been in arms for the Covenant, and preached the husband from the 
wife, and the father from the children, should have been so base in an hour 
of trial ; but it was a time of great discoveries." (History, p. 203.) 

2 Kirktons History, p, 130. Russel's History, vol. ii. p. 261. Bishop 
Sage speaks of the bishoprics being in all worth about ^"6000 or ^7000 
at the time of the Revolution. It is probable they had increased in value. 



Covenanting scruples. Even the Lothians, the very focus of 
the rebellion in 1638, were comparatively tranquil in 1662. 
Seven or eight counties, lying along the south and west of 
Scotland, formed the battlefield of Presbytery. There every 
inch of ground was fiercely disputed with the Episcopate. 
Stirling and Fife had their stern adherents of the Covenant 
too ) and a few stray Covenanters were to be found in every 
shire ; but whenever we penetrate among the Celts of the 
north-west, or the Pictish population of the north-east, we find 
either utter indifference or virulent dislike of the Covenanting 
cause. 1 

The districts in which the Whigs were most numerous are 
identical with those where the Protesters and Remonstrants 
had previously flourished. The high principles which these 
men had cherished lived in their descendants, and led them to 
struggle to the death for doctrines which had been exalted in 
their eyes into the most essential truths of Christianity. 

But there were many circumstances which contributed to 
the resistance offered by Scotland to the modified Episcopacy 
which the government had resolved to introduce. Ever since 
the days of Melville, bishops had been regarded as the spawn 
of Popery — the issue of the scarlet whore's fornications with 
the princes of the earth. The excitement of the Covenanting 
triumphs had deepened that belief; and, moreover, men could 
not all at once forget that in the Covenant they had solemnly 
sworn to abide by Presbytery, and extirpate every other form 
of faith. Their horror of Erastianism was equally great as of 
Episcopacy. Jesus Christ was King of Zion, and any civil 
magistrate who interfered with the government of the Church 
trenched upon His crown rights. Had bishops been recog- 
nised by a General Assembly, had the changes been brought 
about by the ecclesiastical courts, it had deprived them of 
one-half of their malignity. But had not the king intruded 
into the Holy Place ? had he not put his hand upon the ark ? 
had he not set up bishops on his own authority ? had he not 
forbidden or allowed to preach men whose commission to 
preach was from above ? 

The sudden ejection of so many ministers was the fatal 
error of the government, and made the peaceful triumph of 
Episcopacy to be all but impossible. It is not in human 
nature, that men turned out of their homes and their livings 

1 Wodrow tells how the Whigs confined in Dunnottar were disliked by 
the people in the neighbourhood. 


should cherish the same loyal and peaceful sentiments as men 
fostered and protected by the law. Nor was it to be expected 
that the people should be indifferent to the fate of ministers 
whom they had hitherto loved and revered. It was to 
be expected that if the outed ministers preached, their old 
parishioners would flock to hear them \ and that sermons 
preached on the hillside would not be so full of submission as 
sermons preached in the parish church. 

The persecution begun against Nonconformity increased the 
bitterness already felt against the bishops and their curates. 
They were regarded as the cause of every fine that was 
exacted, and of every execution that took place. And truly 
enough was done in this way to make Episcopacy be detested 
to the tenth generation. Upwards of five hundred were slain 
at Rullion Green, Drumclog, Bothwell Bridge, and Airsmoss. 
Probably a hundred and fifty were executed by the sentence 
of the Justiciary or Circuit Courts ; and at least as many more 
shot down by the military in the fields with no form of law at 
all. 1 The multitude who suffered imprisonment or exile no 
man can number. The fines which were extorted from the 
gentry and farmers amounted to upwards of ^300,000 
sterling; 2 and that at a period when the whole revenue 

1 It is difficult to form a correct estimate of the numbers who lost their 
lives for their adherence to Presbytery. Sir George Mackenzie declares 
that not one was put to death solely for religion ; and it is easy to under- 
stand how he makes out his point. Laws were made against the per- 
formance of the Presbyterian worship ; and then the advocate argues that 
the victims of his cruelty were put to death for their violations of law, and 
not for their religion. In a paper attached to his " Vindication," 200 
are acknowledged to have been condemned by Justiciary Courts, but some 
of these were reprieved. De Foe says that upwards of 18,000 suffered for 
their religion in one way or other. He calculates that 1700 were banished 
as slaves ; and 750 sent to remote districts of Scotland ; that 800 were 
outlawed ; 3600 imprisoned ; 560 killed in battle ; 7000 driven into volun- 
tary exile ; 400 killed by the soldiers ; 360 by the hangman, &c. I have 
no hesitation in thinking these numbers exaggerated. The numbers who 
were imprisoned, fined, and made fugitive were undoubtedly very great. 
Wodrow gives us a proscription roll, in which there are nearly 2000 names. 
But I am inclined to think that the chroniclers of those days have pre- 
served the names of most of those who suffered death, and that we have 
them now in Naphtali, the Cloud of Witnesses, Wodrow, &c. Religious 
chroniclers have ever been very careful to preserve the memory of the 
martyrs. The numbers I have hazarded to mention are considerably 
greater than the aggregate of all the names on record. 

2 Wodrow, in his Preface to the Second Volume of his History, gives a 
list of fines, amounting to ,£3, 174,819, 18s. 8d. Scots; and he states that 
his list is very defective, a great many parishes being altogether omitted 
for want of information. 


derived by government from the country did not exceed 
,£50,000 a year. Perhaps the license and extortions of the 
military were the greatest inflictions of all. These cruelties 
could not be perpetrated without exciting virulent animosities. 
Men could not see themselves ruined, their daughters insulted, 
their relatives hanged, and still regard with complacency a 
Church polity under the broad shadow of which those things 
were done. Being pricked, they bled; being hanged, they 
died, but their kinsmen lived to remember it ; being wronged, 
they sought their revenge. 

At the Restoration the Presbyterians were divided into 
Resolutioners and Protesters ; their common sufferings drew 
them together ; but the Indulgence was no sooner offered 
by the government, and accepted by a number of the ministers, 
than they were divided once more into two parties. The 
majority appear to have exhibited moderation of sentiment, 
and anxiety for compromise ; the minority were made more 
and more tenacious of their principles by the cruelties to which 
they were exposed. Their principles even assumed a fuller 
development, and at length resulted in the Queensferry, Sanqu- 
har, and Apologetic Declarations. They disowned the Stewarts 
as a perjured race. They sought after a commonwealth 
governed by the Mosaic law. Their Presbyterian brethren 
who had accepted the Indulgence, or in any way recognised 
the government, they would have no communion with. They 
were to be regarded as men who having put their hand to the 
plough had turned back. They held the doctrine of Balaam, 
who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children 
of Israel. They were no better than the Nicolaitans, for whose 
sake the Church of Pergamos was rebuked. They were only 
fit to be spewed out of the mouth. The followers of Cameron, 
Cargill, and Renwick went still farther, and held they were en- 
titled to meet force by force — to murder those who sought to 
murder them. 

Yet these men were the true offspring of the Covenant. In 
a time of universal backsliding and defection they held fast by 
its distinctive principles ; in the midst of tribulation, as in the 
midst of triumph, they maintained it was their sacred duty to 
extirpate Popery, Prelacy, and Sectarianism. When tormented 
and tortured, they never weakly cried out for toleration ; on 
the contrary, they lifted up their voice against it. They boldly 
maintained that liberty of conscience was but a liberty of 
error; it was the putting a sword into a madman's hand, 


giving a cup of poison to a child, letting loose foxes with fire- 
brands at their tails, appointing a city of refuge in men's 
hearts for the devil to flee to, proclaiming liberty to the wolves 
to come into Christ's fold and prey upon the lambs, a legaliz- 
ing of soul-murder, for which damned souls in hell would 
accurse men upon earth. 1 

To every one who studies the documents of that period, it 
becomes obvious that the piety of these high-handed Cove- 
nanters was not the piety which would be esteemed most 
amiable in our day. But this is little more than to say that the 
virtues of peace are not the virtues of war. Their peculiar 
piety was the natural growth of the circumstances in which 
they were placed. The preachers harped upon the themes 
which divided them from the court and the Church, and the 
people brooded upon these till they acquired an undue 
ascendency in their minds. The very sufferings which they en- 
dured generated the idea that merit was thereby acquired, 
and that they stood above all others as the chosen people of 
God. With this feeling there were mingled those human 
passions which oppression always begets, and which gave to 
their fanaticism, in some instances, a dark and deadly hue. 
But we owe much to their stern struggles; and had their 
religion been of a milder kind, it is probable they would not 
have struggled so bravely and so long. In their darkest hours 
they never despaired, they hoped against hope, not so much 
from their knowledge of the intrigues that were going on at the 
Hague, as because their faith in Divine Providence was firm. 
Might not God, as of old, make the walls of Jericho to fall 
down at the blast of a ram's horn blown by a feeble priest ? 

The partiality for the Old Testament, which began imme- 
diately after the Reformation, still continued, and was very 
characteristic of all the Covenanters. 2 It gave a tone to their 
talk, which has frequently been made the subject of ridicule. 
It gave a sternness to their sentiments, which the mild spirit 
of Christianity should have taught them to correct. The 
eloquence of their preachers had its own peculiar cast. Every 

1 See Testimony by Renwick, already referred to, printed at the end of 
the Cloud of Witnesses, p. 485. The figures here used are borrowed 
from it. 

2 I have had the curiosity to go over the Scripture references in a well- 
known pamphlet belonging to the century (1622), entitled : " Issachar's 
Ass braying under a double burden ; " and I find that eighty-four of these 
are to the Old Testament, and fifteen to the New. A similar proportion 
holds in regard to almost all the religious writings and sayings of the period 


subject which they handled they divided and subdivided into 
an interminable number of heads and particulars, lessons, ap- 
plications, and improvements ; but this was the fault of the 
age, and was common alike to Episcopal and Presbyterian 
divines. They were frequently homely, and sometimes coarse ; 
but refinement of thought and language was not to be expected 
in that rude age from every rural pastor — much less from men 
who were chased from society and compelled to herd with 
outlaws among the hills. They must have had a power of 
touching the hearts of their hearers, and that is the end of 
oratory. "Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence Displayed," is a 
book which non-juring squires, not overburdened with religion, 
have hugely enjoyed ; it contains some things which are true, 
and others which are like the truth ; but all in all it is a gross 
caricature of the men and the times it pretends to delineate. 

For twenty-five years the Presbyterians had been a perse- 
cuted people in the land of their birth ; but the day of their 
deliverance drew near. Had James been of the Protestant 
faith, and protected the English hierarchy, as his brother had 
done, he would have been left to do his worst against the 
Scotch Presbyterians, and in a few years more they must have 
been exterminated. But his Romish faith alarmed both king- 
doms ; his dispensing with the Test Acts, in England as well 
as in Scotland, gave rise to the well-grounded suspicion that 
every office in the country would soon be in possession of the 
Papists ; and his putting forth his hand on the English Church 
made divines, who had hitherto preached passive obedience, 
turn round and curse him to his face. William, Prince of 
Orange, who had married the king's eldest daughter, had long 
watched the state of affairs in our island ; he had long been am- 
bitious of adding to the dignity of Stadtholder of Holland the 
lustre of three crowns. The malcontents on both sides of the 
Tweed had been in communication with him. It was evident 
that the country was ripe for a revolution. With a well- 
appointed fleet, attended with transports having fourteen 
thousand troops on board, he set sail from the Dutch shores, 
and on the 5th of November 1688 landed at Torbay. Six 
weeks afterwards James was a fugitive, and the country was 

A.D. 1688.] WILLIAM OF ORANGE. 1 5 


So soon as it was known in Scotland that William of Orange 
had landed at Torbay ; that he was slowly advancing toward 
London • that the English nobility were flocking to him ; that 
the royal army was deserting to him \ that the bewildered 
James had attempted to flee the country, the people began to 
show how ready they were to concur with the prince in shaking 
off the burdens under which they had groaned. A few days 
after the landing at Torbay, the Scotch Privy Council issued 
an order forbidding any one to receive or circulate the prince's 
Declaration ; but it nevertheless found its way into the 
country, and was publicly proclaimed by the populace at 
Glasgow, Ayr, Irvine, and several other burghs in the west. 
It alluded to the sufferings to which the people had been sub- 
jected because of their religion ; it declared that the object of 
the expedition was to free the country of Popery and arbitrary 
power; but it gave no pledge for the re-establishment of 
Presbytery. 1 

The students in Glasgow University showed the spirit which 
possessed them by burning the effigy of the Pope, in company 
with those of the Archbishops of Glasgow and St Andrews. 2 

Toward the middle of December, Edinburgh began to show 
a disposition to riot. A chapel had been fitted up in Holy- 
rood House for the Popish worship, and this was an abomina- 
tion not to be suffered. The mob gathered, and, assisted by 
the city train-bands, forced the palace, killed a number of the 
soldiers who defended it, and soon rifled the shrine which 
had excited their rage. They carried the images in triumphal 
procession through the streets, and then solemnly burned 
them. Not satisfied with this, they proceeded to search the 
houses of the Roman Catholics in the city, and to carry off 
their books, beads, and crucifixes, that they might commit 
them to the flames. Thieves followed in the wake of the 
crowd, and while the students and apprentices were showing 
their zeal for Protestantism, they were exhibiting their love for 
plunder, by pillaging every house they could manage to 
enter. 3 

1 Wodrow's History, vol. iv. pp. 470-72. - Ibid. p. 472. 

:] Wodrow's History, vol iv. 


The Earl of Perth was especially obnoxious to the crowd. 
Bishop Burnet bears witness that he was a man of kindly 
dispositions ; but he had sacrificed his good dispositions 
and his early faith to his inordinate ambition. He had 
received the chancellorship as the reward of his apostasy, 
and was deeply implicated in all the cruelties of the reign 
which was now coming to a close. The mob pulled down 
a picture of him which was suspended at the Canongate ; 
offered a mock reward of ^400 for his seizure ; and he was 
glad to save himself by flight. He was laid hold of at 
Kirkcaldy disguised in the dress of a sailor, roughly handled 
and sadly frightened by the rabble, and lodged in the Castle of 
Stirling, from which he was afterwards allowed to retire to 

Meanwhile there were wild rumours afloat of an army of 
Irish Papists that had landed, or was about to land, on the 
coast of Galloway. Some said it was already at Kirkcud- 
bright, and had burned it. These reports were probably the 
result of excitement and of fear, rather than of design. In 
such times rumours are ever rife. People began to dread a 
massacre. The Council had dissolved. The military had 
been marched into England. There was a dissolution of all 
authority. The peasantry of the western counties began to 
collect in large crowds, armed with such weapons as they 
could procure, and to take the law into their own hands. 
Their wrath vented itself on the unhappy curates. They re- 
solved to purge the temple of them, without waiting for the 
decision of the legislature. They began their work upon 
Christmas, which seems to have been thought an appropriate 
day. In some cases, the curates saved themselves from 
insult by timely flight. In other cases, they were laid hold of 
by the rabble, carried about in mock procession, had their 
gowns torn over their heads, their Prayer-Books burned 
before their eyes, and then were told to be off, and never to 
show themselves in the parish again. When done with the 
minister, the mob frequently entered the manse, tumbled the 
furniture out at the windows, marched the inmates to the 
door, took possession of the keys ; and on next Sunday a 
preacher, who had till lately been skulking among the hills, 
was found in the pulpit thundering against persecuting pre- 
latists. These rabblings went on for two or three months ; 
every now and then an instance was occurring, till almost 
every parish in the south and west was cleared of its Episcopal 

A. D. 1689.] RABBLING THE CURATES. 1 53 

incumbent. Upwards of two hundred clergymen were thus 
rabbled out of their manses, their parishes, and their livings. 1 
The wives and families of these men shared in their misfor- 
tunes. Many must have been rendered homeless ; some 
reduced to absolute beggary ; and we read with pity of indi- 
viduals who were obliged to throw themselves on the charity 
of their Presbyterian enemies. 2 In the accounts of the kirk- 
sessions of that period, entries are to be found of a few pence 
given " to a poor curate's wife." 3 Still no life was lost. The 
only martyrdom these men underwent was a little rough usage 
from an ignorant rabble, and the loss of their livings. And it 
must be remembered that in the districts of the country where 
these things happened the curates occupied their pulpits in 
opposition to the will of the people, and enjoyed stipends of 
which others had been tyrannically deprived. They had no root 
in the soil ; they were aliens in their own parishes. What is 
more, they were suspected of having abetted the persecution 
of those who preferred their old Presbyterian ministers to 
them. They had their roll of absentees from church to hand 
to the military officer commanding in the district. The 
violence of revolution is generally proportionate to the evils 
which lead to it. It is thus the excesses of the French revolu- 
tion are excused. For twenty-five long years the Presbyterians 
had been cruelly oppressed ; and yet, when times of revolution 
came, they did not rise and murder their oppressors. Even 
the rabblings were conducted chiefly by the Cameronians and 
the lowest of the people, and many of the Presbyterians 
strongly condemned them. 4 

1 Somers's Tracts, coll. iii. vol. iv. p. 133 — Case of the Episcopal 
Clergy in Scotland truly represented. Case of the Afflicted Clergy, &c. 
Burnet's History, vol. ii. p. 444. 

2 In the petition which they gave in to the parliament they said, " They 
were generally reduced to great necessities, and many of them, with 
numerous families, were at the point of starving." See Somers's Tracts, 
coll. iii. vol. iv. p. 141. 

3 In the accounts of the kirk-session of Crieff, there are the following 
entries : — 

1703. July 28. To Mr Irvine, an Episcopal minister, ;£i o o Scots. 

1704. Jan. 23. To a curate's wife, . . . .050,, 
1709. July 12. To Mr Theodore Humphrey, an 

Episcopal minister in Shetland, recom- 
mended by the Assembly, . . .140,, 
17 12. July 19. To Mr Park, Episcopal minister, . o 18 o ,, 

4 See Rule's Vindication, and the Preface to Sage's Fundamental 
Charter. The Cameronians themselves got somewhat ashamed of their 
rabbling Reformation work, and resolved, instead of it, to send a threaten- 


~ William of Orange was not long at St James's 

9 * till he called together the Scottish noblemen who 
happened to be in London, to ask their counsel in regard to 
the affairs of their country. They met upon the 8th of 
January, under the presidency of the Duke of Hamilton, and 
agreed to beg the prince to take upon him the civil and mili- 
tary administration of the kingdom, and to call a Convention 
of the Estates at Edinburgh on the 14th of March. To this 
William readily gave his consent. 

So soon as William set his foot upon English soil, the Scot- 
tish clergy became uneasy about their Church. Early in 
December the bishops met, and commissioned Dr Rose, the 
Bishop of Edinburgh, to proceed to London and watch the 
progress of affairs. When the bishop was on his way, he 
learned that King James had fled from Rochester to France, 
which so greatly perplexed him that he had some thoughts of 
returning home. When he reached London, he waited upon 
the Archbishop of Canterbury ; but Sancroft could only tell 
him that everything was very dark, and that no one could yet 
clearly see light. He waited upon Stillingfleet, but Stilling- 
fleet was cross ; and when Rose afterwards told this to the 
primate, the primate smiled, and said that "St Asaph was a 
good man, but an angry man." He next tried Dr Burnet, who 
was well known to have influence at court ; but Burnet told 
him he did not meddle with Scotch affairs. The bishop saw 
there was nothing for it but to remain for a time in London, 
and see what turn affairs would take. 

After long debate, the English Convention declared that 
James had abdicated the throne, and called William and 
Mary to fill it. The Scotch bishop now thought it was high 
time to return home, more especially as a Convention of the 
Scotch Estates had been called to decide upon the same 
great question. He requested Dr Compton, the Bishop of 
London, to introduce him at court, in order that he might get 
a passport for Scotland. The bishop suggested that this 
might be a proper time to beg William to extend his protec- 
tion to the clergy who were being rabbled out of their 
parishes, and offered to introduce him and Sir George Mac- 
kenzie for that purpose. When Dr Rose and Sir George 
met Dr Compton in one of the anterooms of Whitehall, they 

ing letter to each curate, which they thought would have the effect of 
frightening him out of his parish. See Faithful Contendings Displayed, 
pp. 375> 376. 


asked if their purpose would not be served better if the 
Scotch Episcopal nobles and gentry in London waited upon 
the prince in a body. The bishop entered into the idea, and 
said he would go and learn what were the feelings of the king. 

He returned after an absence of half-an-hour, and said that 
King William would not admit more than two at one time, of 
either Episcopalians or Presbyterians, to speak with him upon 
Church affairs, lest it should excite jealousy. " My Lord," 
said Compton, addressing himself to Rose, " you see that the 
king, having thrown himself upon the water, must keep him- 
self swimming with one hand — the Presbyterians having joined 
him closely, and offered to support him ; and therefore he 
cannot cast them off, unless he could see how otherwise he 
could be served. And the king bids me tell you, that he now 
knows the state of Scotland much better than he did when he 
was in Holland ; for while there he was made believe that 
Scotland generally all over was Presbyterian, but now he sees 
that the great body of the nobility and gentry are for Episco- 
pacy, and it is the trading and inferior sort that are for 
Presbytery. Wherefore he bids me tell you, that if you will 
undertake to serve him to the purpose that he is here served 
in England, he will take you by the hand, support the Church 
and your order, and throw off the Presbyterians." To this 
Dr Rose answered, that his instructions did not extend so far, 
and that, as for himself, he would rather abandon all than 
renounce his allegiance to James. " In these circumstances," 
said Compton, " the king must be excused for standing by the 

While this conversation was going on, William passed 
through the room in which they were standing on his way out, 
and the opportunity for an interview that day was lost. Next 
day, how r ever, Compton presented the Bishop of Edinburgh 
to his Majesty. William advanced a few steps, and said, 
•' My Lord, are you going to Scotland?" "Yes, sir," said 
Rose, " if you have any commands for me." " Then," replied 
William, " I hope you will be kind to me, and follow the 
example of England." The bishop did not well know how to 
answer, without entangling himself in his talk. " Sir," he said, 
" I will serve you so far as law, reason, or conscience shall 
allow me." W'illiam turned round, and went back to his 
courtiers." 1 

Though Burnet told the Bishop of Edinburgh that he did 
1 The letter in which Dr Rose describes his adventures is to be found 


not meddle in Scotch affairs, he introduced to William the 
Dean of Glasgow, who had come up to London on a similar 
errand. The prince told the dean that he would do what he 
could to maintain their order, in the event of their giving their 
support to his government ; but if they opposed that, or if the 
parliament of the country, by a great majority, determined for 
Presbytery, he would not make war for them, though he would 
do all in his power to secure them toleration, so long as they 
lived peaceably. The prince further asked Burnet to com- 
municate this to some of the bishops who had written him, 
eagerly asking what was to be done. 1 

While these efforts were being made by the Episcopalians, 
the Presbyterians had a powerful friend at court in William 
Carstares, whom we have already seen manfully enduring 
the torture of the thumbscrews, and making terms with his 
tormentors as to the secrets he was to tell. His round face, 
expressive eyes, and strongly marked mouth, as still seen in 
his portrait, indicate a man of both strong intellect and kindly 
feelings. He had been a devoted Whig, a restless intriguer, 
and a fast friend of the Presbyterians. He had gained, when 
an exile in Holland, the confidence of William of Orange, and 
he retained it when William of Orange became King of 
England. He had sailed in the same ship with him from 
Helvoetsluys to Torbay ; and conducted at the head of the 
army a religious service on the day of its landing. It was few 
with whom the silent Dutchman took counsel, but Carstares 
was one of these. He was afterwards appointed chaplain to 
their Majesties for Scotland ; for he was a Presbyterian 
minister, and the Presbyterian Church presented no higher 
dignity. But the chaplain had such influence, that he was 
nicknamed the Cardinal. Haughty nobles approached him 
respectfully to solicit favours. He possessed more real power 
than the first ministers of state. The secret of his influence 
was, that he was a stickler for the prerogative which William 
wished to preserve, and that he had been tried and found 
trusty. "I have known Carstares long," said William; ".I 
have known him well, and I know him to be an honest man," 
He now had an opportunity of serving his brethren, and he 
did it most effectually. He represented to the king that the 

in the Appendix to Keith's Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops. I see no 
reason to doubt either its genuineness or general truthfulness, though it is 
probable William's promise is made stronger than it was. 
1 Burnet's History, vol. iii. p. 25. 


Episcopalians as a body were hostile to his government ; that 
their doctrines of divine right and passive obedience would 
prevent them from throwing off their allegiance to James; and, 
besides, that they formed but a small fraction of the nation : 
that the Presbyterians, on the other hand, constituted the 
great bulk of the people, and were to a man hearty in his 
cause. 1 

What Carstares said in regard to the Episcopalians was true. 
They clung to the exiled dynasty with desperate tenacity. 
James had taught the Anglican divines the folly of preaching 
passive obedience, by calling upon them to practise it with 
their dignities and revenues in danger ; but the Scottish 
clergy had got no such lesson. The Anglican divines, more- 
over, knew, that if deprived of the support of the throne they 
could fall back upon the nation ; while their brethren in the 
north knew that the royal favour was their breath of life, and 
that if deprived of it they must perish. The English bishops 
had such a dread of James's Popery, that the great majority of 
them welcomed the prince. The Scotch bishops had a greater 
dread of William's Presbyterianism than of James's Popery, 
and resolved to hold fast by their ancient allegiance. When 
the prince's fleet, on its first sailing from the Dutch coast, was 
driven back by a storm, they sent an address of congratula- 
tion to the king, wishing that he might soon have the necks of 
his enemies. When William took possession of Whitehall, de- 
serted by its former tenant, not one of them welcomed his 
coming. When the Scottish Convention met they unanimously 
opposed the forfeiture of the crown ; and for long years after- 
wards they religiously adhered to their political creed. While 
we acknowledge their consistency, we do not wrong them by 
saying that they were greatly helped to it by the knowledge 
that their destiny and that of the Stewarts were bound up 

William of Orange was a Calvinist. If he believed any one 
religious dogma firmer than another, it was predestination. 
What fatalism was to Mahomet, what his star was to Napoleon, 
predestine tion was to William. As Stadtholder of Holland he 
was, moreover, the head of a Presbyterian Church. If, how- 
ever, he was a Presbyterian in Holland, he was an Episco- 
palian in England. He laughed at the idea of any form of 
polity possessing a divine right, and seldom let religious 
scruples of any kind come in the way of his statesmanship. 
1 M'Cormiclcs Life of Carstares, p. 39. Dr Story's William Carstares. 


But though easy in most religious matters, he was resolute in 
extending religious toleration to all. 

It is difficult to discover what were his notions in regard to 
Scotch ecclesiastical affairs. It was no easy matter to pene- 
trate his reserve in regard to anything, and more especially in 
regard to a subject so ticklish as this. It seems pretty certain, 
however, that he was at first inclined to use his influence for 
the preservation of the hierarchy. The English bishops were 
eager for this. Even such Low Churchmen as Burnet argued 
for it. Moreover, the hierarchy existed ; it was based upon 
many acts of parliament ; and his mission was not to destroy 
the legal institutions of the country, but to uphold them. 
Then there was a fascination in the idea of a religious uni- 
formity over the length and breadth of the island ; it was a 
fascination which had carried away James VI., which had 
carried away the Covenanters, and which had its influence 
upon the less excitable mind of William. But William in- 
sisted upon being satisfied on two points, before he would 
pledge himself to Episcopacy — that the Episcopal clergy 
would support his government, and that thejEpiscopal Church 
would not be opposed by the bulk of the people. In regard to 
the first, he was soon convinced that the Episcopal clergy 
would not renounce their allegiance to James ; and as con- 
flicting testimonies were given him in regard to the second, he 
wisely resolved to leave the whole matter in the hands of the 
Convention about to assemble, as the best representative of 
the feelings of the nation. 

There were legal obstacles in the way of the Convention 
being a fair exponent of the wishes of the people. Accord- 
ing to law, no peer, no baron, no burgess, could sit in the 
meeting of the Estates without taking the Test, and no 
Presbyterian, no patriot could do so. According to law, the 
election of representative burgesses was vested in town coun- 
cils; and in those days, no one was admitted within the 
sacred precincts of these municipal corporations till he had 
renounced the Covenants, acknowledged the king's supremacy 
in ecclesiastical affairs, and burdened his conscience with 
other oaths of a similar kind. These conclaves of abject 
Episcopalians, who had been ready to swear everything, 
would, if left to themselves, have sent to the Convention men 
as abject as themselves. William took it upon him to dis- 
pense with the obnoxious oaths, and to require the members 
for the burghs to be chosen by a poll of the whole inhabi- 

A. D. 1689.] THE CONVENTION. 159 

tants. Of course, he was twitted by the Tories for annulling 
the laws of the realm upon his own authority — the crime that 
had driven James from the throne. But how else could the 
representatives of the nation find their way into the parlia- 
ment-house, but by the removal of the acts which the Stewarts 
had piled up at the door? How could the people speak out 
till the gags were removed which the Stewarts had put into 
their mouths ? Had no one been allowed to take his seat in 
the meeting of Estates, without first solemnly swearing that 
he would never attempt any alteration in the government \ 
that he regarded even petitioning for redress to be a crime ; 
that he acknowledged James to be the head of the Church, 
and the lord of his conscience, — what reform, not to say 
revolution, could be hoped from such a body? Things must 
have remained eternally the same, or men must have sworn 
one day to perjure themselves the next. 

On the 14th of March the Convention met. Nine prelates 
look their places as the representatives of the Spiritual Estate. 
Forty-two peers, forty-nine members for counties, and fifty 
representatives of burghs made up the assemblage. The 
Bishop of Edinburgh opened the deliberations with prayer, 
and had the courage to supplicate that God would restore 
King James. The first trial of strength was the election of a 
president. The Tories put forward the Duke of Athole ; the 
Whigs, the Duke of Hamilton. Hamilton was carried by a 
majority of forty, which clearly indicated the course affairs 
were to take. About twenty of the minority now deserted 
the cause of the falling throne, as rats abandon a falling house. 
On the 1 6th, the Earl of Leven presented a letter from 
the Prince of Orange, in which his Highness expressed his 
anxiety that they would settle the religion and liberties of 
the nation upon lasting foundations, with a reference to the 
public good and the inclinations of the people \ but he made 
no more distinct allusion to the disputes between the Episco- 
palians and Presbyterians. The Estates agreed to send him a 
respectful and thankful reply. 1 On the same day a letter was 
produced and read from the fugitive James, offering a pardon 
to those who should return to their duty before the end of the 
month, and denouncing the doom of traitors against all others. 
No one was bold enough to propose that this epistle should 
be gratefully acknowledged. 2 

1 These letters will be found in Tarbet's Collection of the Acts of the 
Scotch Parliaments. 

8 Life of James II., pp. 287, 288. 


Meanwhile there were circumstances which caused great 
uneasiness both to the citizens of Edinburgh and the mem- 
bers of the Convention. The Duke of Gordon, a Papist, held 
the castle, and though summoned by the Convention to sur- 
render, declined ; and it was dreaded that a few discharges of 
his artillery might bring the city tumbling about their ears. 
Moreover, Grahame of Claverhouse, now Viscount Dundee, had 
come from London to attend the meeting of Estates, and it 
was whispered that his old troopers were gathering around him. 
But the danger and the dread were not all on one side. Seven 
or eight hundred of the westland Whigs, having effectually 
rabbled the Episcopal clergy at home, had come up to Edin- 
burgh to watch the progress of affairs in the Convention, and 
be ready to defend the good cause, if need were. Some had 
come out of their own zeal, others had obeyed the summons of 
their feudal lords. They sauntered in bands about the streets, 
crowded about the Parliament-house door, and hooted and 
hustled the bishops as they entered. 1 The Viscount Dundee 
and Sir George Mackenzie complained to the Estates that 
their lives were in danger; and so deeply hated were they as 
bloody and deceitful men, that there can be little doubt there 
was cause for their fear. The Convention refused them its 
protection, and that same afternoon Dundee was seen clamber- 
ing up the rocks of the Castle Hill, talking with Gordon, and 
then throwing himself upon his steed, and riding rapidly along 
the Stirling road, followed by some fifty of his dragoons. This 
news threw the Estates into alarm ; the westland Covenanters 
were called together by tuck of drum, entrusted to the com- 
mand of the Earl of Leven, and employed to keep ward upon 
the Convention till they were relieved by the arrival of some 
Scotch regiments under the command of General Mackay. 2 

The business of the Convention was yet to be done. A 
committee was preparing its acts. At length the important re- 
solution, decisive of the fate of the kingdom, prepared by 
eight peers, eight barons, and eight burgesses, according to 

1 See Bishop Sage's Preface to the Fundamental Charter of Presbytery. 
Faithful Contendings Displayed, &c. 

2 On the 18th March, when Dundee left the Convention, "order was 
given to the Earl of Leven to beat drums, and gather together the train 
bands and such others as will form with him about the town, to secure 
that no men be put in the castle, nor any sally made out of it, and to dis- 
sipate any body of men in arms without warrant of the Estates." 
Minutes of the Convention, 1689. MS , Advocates' Library. Napier's 
Memorials of Dundee. 

A.D. 1689.] THE CLAIM OF RIGHT. l6l 

the ancient parliamentary usage of the Lords of the Articles, 
was laid before the Estates. It declared that King James VII. 
was a Papist ; that he had entered upon his regal office with- 
out taking the Coronation Oath ; that he had violated the 
fundamental laws of the kingdom ; and therefore, that he 
had forfeited his right to the crown, and that the throne was 
become vacant. Upon the back of this there was another re- 
solution taken — that William and Mary, King and Queen of 
England, France, and Ireland, should be declared King and 
( Jueen of Scotland. Only nine members, of whom seven were 
bishops, opposed these resolutions. At the close of the sede- 
runt at which they were agreed upon, when one of the bishops, 
according to custom, was about to engage in prayer, a baron 
warned him that if he now prayed for James as king it would 
be regarded as treason. The bishop took the hint, and dis- 
creetly adjourned the meeting with the Lord's Prayer. 1 

The Convention at Edinburgh, following the example of the 
Convention at Westminster, embodied the resolutions regard- 
ing the vacancy of the throne, and the calling of William and 
Mary to fill it, in a Claim of Right. In this renowned docu- 
ment they set forth the violations of the law which had been 
perpetrated during the two previous reigns, the grievances 
under which the people had laboured, and the rights which 
they conceived to belong to them ; and it was to be under- 
stood that the crown was given only on the condition of the 
principles of government contained in this claim being recog- 
nised. One of the declarations of this document was — " That 
Prelacy and the superiority of any office in the Church above 
Presbyters is, and hath been, a great and unsupportable 
grievance and trouble to this nation, and contrary to the 
inclination of the generality of the people, ever since the 
Reformation (they having reformed from Popery by Presby- 
ters), and therefore ought to be abolished." 

William was anxious that the Convention itself should 
settle the vexed question of the nation's ecclesiastical polity, 
and therefore it only fulfilled his wishes when it did so. It w T as 
the best exponent of the people's desires, and William was 
resolved that the Church established by law should be the 
Church of the people. Moreover, by leaving the decision of 
the controversy with the Scotch Convention, he was saved 
from giving offence to the English Church. Had he taken any 
direct or active part in casting out bishops in the north, 

1 Somers's Tracts, vol. ii. p. 389. 


bishops in the south might have fancied their craft in danger, 
and have thought again of the king across the water. But 
Scotland had decided the matter for itself, and the establish- 
ment of Presbytery was made a condition of his getting the 
crown. If he took the crown he must take Presbytery with it. 
William was not sorry that such an obligation was imposed on 

The Convention claimed the removal of Episcopacy on the 
low, but practical, and very sensible ground, that it was con- 
trary to the general inclinations of the people. It was not 
affirmed that Episcopacy was sinful ; it was not affirmed that 
Presbytery was apostolic ; divine right was neither denied to 
the one nor claimed for the other ; it was enough for the 
settlement of the Scotch Church that the Scotch people hated 
prelates and loved presbyters. Yet this fact, though not 
denied in the Convention, was denied out of it. 

The Episcopalians argued that Episcopacy had been set up 
and confirmed, all but unanimously, in many parliaments, in 
which were the representatives of all Estates. They stated 
that the Test Oath had been taken, with few exceptions, by all 
the nobility, by all the gentry, by the members of every 
municipality, of every learned profession, yea, of every craft, 
and that in the Test Oath Presbyterian and Covenanting 
principles were abjured. They pointed to the fact that all the 
clergy were Episcopal, all the members of the College of 
Justice, all the professors in all the universities. They alleged 
that, when King James gave a full toleration to all, very few 
had taken advantage of it, so as to separate from the estab- 
lished worship \ that in the vast country north of the Tay, 
there were not more than three or four Presbyterian meeting- 
houses ; that in several of the central, eastern, and southern 
counties, scarcely a Presbyterian was to be found; and, in 
fine, that not a tenth of the entire population cared for 

The Presbyterians, on the other hand, maintained that what 
parliament had done when it was in vassalage it undid the 
moment it was free. They argued that the fact of the nobles, 
the barons, the burgesses, the members of every learned pro- 
fession, and of every humble craft, having taken the Test, 
proved only that there are thousands who will rather swear 
anything than suffer the loss of all things ; but that the con- 
duct of these same men afterwards manifested how little their 
oath was the expression of their opinion. They affirmed that 


few meeting-houses had been erected during the short and un- 
certain toleration, because the majority of the people, by 
twenty-five years of hanging and shooting, had been brought 
to a sullen outward compliance with Episcopacy ; and, 
besides, that many dreaded taking advantage of a toleration 
which was contrary to law. They said that such a pressure 
had been laid upon the country during the two past reigns, 
that it was impossible to judge of its feelings till that pressure 
was removed \ but that it no sooner was removed than almost 
every county and every town declared for Presbytery by the 
choice of its representatives ; that the whole south and west, 
taking law into their own hand, had ejected the Episcopal 
incumbents, and that the rest of the country, though not so 
outrageously zealous, would welcome back their Presbyterian 
ministers as gladly as Galloway and Ayr. They affirmed, in 
short, that of thirty-four counties, there were seventeen so 
entirely Presbyterian that not one Episcopalian in fifty was to 
be found ; and that in the other seventeen, there were two 
Presbyterians for one who was inclined to Episcopacy. 1 

When the Claim of Right had been agreed upon, the Earl 
of Argyll, Sir John Dalrymple, and Sir James Montgomery 
were despatched to London to make a formal tender of the 
crown to William and Mary. On the nth of May the 
ceremony took place in the banqueting-house at Whitehall. 
The Earl of Argyll read the Coronation Oath, clause by clause, 
and the royal couple, with their hands lifted up to heaven, re- 
peated the words after him. The last clause makes the king 
swear, that " he shall root out all heretics and enemies to the 
true worship of God, that shall be convicted by the true Kirk 
of God of the foresaid crimes." At this clause William paused, 
and said, " I will not lay myself under any obligation to be a 
persecutor." The Commissioners declared that they did not 
consider that to be implied in the oath, and, upon this under- 
standing, William took it. It is certainly difficult to see how 
such a negative sense as that assigned by the Commissioners 
can be attached to the language of the oath ; but William had 
done enough to exonerate his conscience, and to exhibit his 
principles. It was a good omen for the future that such senti- 
ments had at length mounted the British throne. 

1 Sage's Fundamental Charter, pp. 255-326. Rule's Vindication. 
Bishop Russel's History, &c. I suppose a stewartry — probably that of 
Strathearn — is reckoned to make up the thirty-four counties here alluded 
to ; or, if Orkney be counted separate from Zetland we have the number. 


The Cameronians were not unconcerned spectators of what 
was passing in the country. A general meeting of their 
Societies was held at Lesmahagow to renew the Covenants, 
for which they had previously prepared themselves by a day of 
fasting. On Saturday, the 2d of March, they assembled in the 
parish church, but the crowd was so great that no building 
could contain them. A tent was therefore set up in the fields, 
and the preacher dilated upon the defections the land had 
been guilty of, and how they had forsaken the Covenants, and 
turned away from following the Lord, till night put a stop to 
him. On the next day, being Sunday, they met on Borland 
Hill. First one minister and then another preached to the 
multitude. This being done, penitents were allowed to make 
a confession of their sins. One man stood up, and with tears 
confessed that he had been guilty of hearing a curate preach ; 
another, that he had paid cess ; another, that he had taken the 
Oath of Abjuration; another, that he had, for a time, been led 
away by the impostor Gibb ; another, that he had been guilty 
of uncleanness or theft. The preacher, in the presence of the 
people, pointed out to them the heinousness of their respective 

Then came the special and most solemn work of the day. 
A document containing an acknowledgment of sins and en- 
gagements to duties was read. Then the National Covenant 
and the Solemn League and Covenant were read ; but in both 
the word " king " was expunged, and " civil magistrate " sub- 
stituted in its place. The ministers debarred all from swearing 
who had not made conscience of mourning for all the breaches 
of which they had been guilty ; and then all the congregation, 
with hands lifted up to heaven, entered anew into covenant 
with God. 1 

The proceedings of the Convention, though hailed with 
general delight by the Presbyterian population, did not satisfy 
these stern Covenanters. When the Convention first met they 
laid before it a petition, which, strangely enough, took the 
form of a litany. " We conjure your honours/' said they, " to 
hearken to us — 

" By all the formerly felt, presently seen, and for the future 
feared effects of Popery and tyranny : 

" By the cry of the blood of our murdered brethren : 

"By the sufferings of the banished freeborn subjects of this 
realm, now groaning in servitude : 

1 Faithful Contending* Displayed, pp. 380-82. 


1689. J THE CAMERONIANS. 1 65 

" By the miseries that many thousands forfeited, disin- 
herited, harassed, and wasted houses and families, have been 
reduced to : 

" By all the sufferings of a faithful people for adhering to 
the ancient covenanted establishment of religion and liberty: 

"And by all the arguments of justice, necessity, and mercy, 
that ever could join together to begin communication among 
men of wisdom, piety, and virtue : " 

By these things they prayed that William should be made 
king, on condition that he professed and promised to preserve 
pure religion and the covenanted work of Reformation. 1 But 
they soon began to discover that William was not a man likely 
to take the Covenant himself, or to force others to take it. 
Did he not support black Prelacy in England, and did he not 
purpose at least to tolerate it in Scotland? Would it not 
be a sinful compliance to give their allegiance to such a 
latitudinarian king? 

An opportunity soon occurred of testing their dispositions. 
The Highland clans were mustering under the Viscount 
Dundee \ there were rumours of an invasion of Irish, and the 
government wished to raise a force sufficient for the defence 
of the kingdom. William Cleland, who had fought with 
distinguished bravery at Bothwell, and was one of the few 
men whom Claverhouse feared, made an offer to the Estates 
to raise a regiment among the Cameronians, under the 
colonelcy of the Earl of Angus, and the offer was accepted. 
The matter was soon mooted abroad among the Societies, 
who had already a kind of military organization. The good 
wishes of Shields, one of their preachers, were secured, 
and a general meeting called to determine how they should 

Upon the 29th of April they met in the Kirk of Douglas. 
When the grave question of enlistment was propounded, it 
was maintained, on the one side, that for them to have a 
regiment in pay would be a sinful association, seeing there 
were in the army many malignants, men of blood, murderers 
of their brethren, with whom their officers behoved to sit in 
councils of war ; and that as to Mackay, the commander-in- 
chief, they knew not " who he was, nor what he was for." It 
was maintained, on the other hand, that it was not a sinful 
but a necessitous association, in such times of danger ; and 

1 De Foe's Memoirs of the Church of Scotland. Crookshank's 
History, &c. 


that, though there were wicked men in the councils of war, 
their officers might do them good. Debate ran high, and the 
meeting was a scene of wild confusion. At length the ques- 
tion was put to the vote, Whether or not it would be a sinful 
association for them to raise a regiment, while there were in 
the army many officers, malignant and bloody men, and all 
under one general ? The majority determined that it would 
be a sinful association ; and so the hope of raising a regiment 
among such men seemed clean gone. 

There were many, however, who thought that they were not 
doing their duty in holding back when religion and reforma- 
tion were in jeopardy. Shields assisted them to this conclu- 
sion, by preaching to them from Judges v. 23 — " Curse ye 
Meroz ; curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because 
they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the 
Lord against the mighty." Other meetings were held, and 
conditions drawn up, under which it was thought they might 
without sin accept military service. It was proposed that 
every officer and every soldier admitted into the regiment 
should own and adhere to the Covenants and work of reforma- 
tion against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, sectarianism, and 
arbitrary government ; that they should be at liberty to 
impeach all in State, Church, or army who had oppressed 
them ; and that, till all such notorious criminals were purged 
from the ranks, they should be kept as remote from them as 
might consist with the effectual management of the war ; that 
they should not be asked to go out in promiscuous detach- 
ments, nor be mixed in encampments with such men. It was 
farther proposed that they should have the choice of their own 
officers ; the choice of their own minister ; that there should 
be an elder in every company ; that, when on guard, they 
might perform the worship of God publicly; that when off 
guard, they might have family worship regularly ; that a day 
should be set apart every week for fellowship in prayer and 
Christian conference ; another day for their minister to preach 
and catechise ; and that there should be military laws to re- 
strain all profane talk, all impurity, all drunkenness, and all 
drinking of healths. 

When these proposals were shown to Cleland, he said it was 
quite inconsistent with military discipline for such a contract 
to be made between men and their officers. This declaration 
gave rise to fresh squabbles and debates. It was now the 
middle of May, and Cleland, much annoyed, intimated that 


he must report that he had failed in his promise to raise a 
regiment. But the men were already assembled ; they were 
actually drawn up in companies ; they only waited for terms 
which they thought they could in conscience accept. Another 
effort was made. A short paper was prepared for them, con- 
taining a declaration that they engaged in the service to resist 
Popery, Prelacy, and arbitrary power, and to recover and 
establish the work of reformation. Cleland rode from company 
to company and read this paper, and company after company 
agreed to enlist upon its terms. 1 Such was the origin of the 
Cameronian regiment. Its first lieutenant-colonel was Cleland ; 
its first chaplain was Shields. Its courage was first tried at 
Dunkeld, where these eight hundred Covenanted warriors 
rolled back the tide of Celtic invasion ; and since then, unde- 
generate though changed, it has won trophies in every quarter 
of the world. 2 

When the Convention resolved to offer the crown to William 
and Mary, they published a proclamation forbidding any one 
to acknowledge James longer as king, and ordering prayers to 
be made in all the churches of the kingdom for the new 
sovereigns. Every minister was required to read this docu- 
ment from the pulpit, and to mould his devotions according to 
it, under pain of being deprived of his benefice. Many of the 
Episcopalians refused to do so. The recusants were brought 
before the Council, and a considerable number were ejected 
from their parishes. Their friends loudly complained of the 
harshness with which they were used. It was said that several 
of the clergy had not received copies of the proclamation till 
the morning of the Sunday on which they were required to read 
it, and had no time to make up their minds on so weighty a 
matter as the transference of their allegiance. It was argued 
that though the crown was at that time offered to William and 
Mary, they had not yet accepted of it, and that, till the trans- 
action was complete, ministers might be excused from mention- 
ing them in their prayers. It was told that many of the 
Presbyterian ministers had taken no notice of the proclamation, 
and yet not a hair of their head was touched. 3 The Earl of 
Crawford was especially blamed for his diligence in hauling 

1 Faithful Contendings Displayed, pp. 393-404. 

3 The Cameronians now form the 26th Regiment. It was a rule that a 
Bible should form a part of each man's kit. Its first defection was card- 
playing, on which subject a pastoral letter was addressed by the Societies 
to the regiment. See Faithful Contendings. 

3 Case of the Afflicted Clergy, &c. 


unhappy recusants before the Council. The earl, on the other 
hand, declared that his procedure had been particularly mild 
and merciful, in fact, that such was his tenderness that an 
alarm was spread that Episcopacy was to be reintroduced ; 
that from first to last he had deserted the diet against thirty- 
three ministers, although proof might have been had of their 
guilt, but that it was hard that men who refused to own the 
king's authority should continue to enjoy their benefices ; and 
that one man, on whose account he had been blamed, not only 
prayed openly for King James, but that the Lord would put a 
hook in the nose of the usurper William. 1 

The country had now a king, and might have a parliament. 
With a view to this, William appointed the Duke of Hamilton 
his Royal Commissioner. Hamilton's high rank and Whig 
principles entitled him to the dignity, but he had the middle 
views and vacillating policy which seemed to be hereditary in 
his family, and during his viceroyalty he failed to satisfy either 
others or himself. He was jealous of those associated with 
him, was perpetually complaining of Lord Crawford and others 
receiving the honours which were due to him, and was sus- 
pected of not being greatly grieved when matters went badly 
in the parliament. 2 As the kingdom had no chancellor, the 
Earl of Crawford was appointed to preside in the parliament 
when it met. He was a staunch Presbyterian, and a well- 
meaning man ; but his poverty and puritanism made him the 
butt of the keenest satire of the Prelatists. Lord Melville, a 
man of moderate abilities and consistent Presbyterian prin- 
ciples, and who had endured exile for their sake, was made 
Secretary of State. Lord Stair, perhaps the greatest lawyer 
whom Scotland has produced, was made President of the 
Session, and his son, Sir John Dalrymple, one of the ablest 
debaters of his day, was created Lord Advocate ; but both 
father and son had been involved in the crimes of the preced- 
ing reigns ; and many, who deemed themselves free from such 
a blemish, grudged their promotion. For every person who 
received an office, ten were disappointed, and believed their 
merits overlooked; for the country was full of politicians, 
every one of whom thought he had saved the State. 

The Estates assembled at Edinburgh on the 5th of June. 

1 See Letters from Lord Crawford to Lord Melville, dated 12th 
October, 24th October, and 5th November, 1689, in the Leven and Mel- 
ville Papers. 

2 For proofs of this, see Letters in the Leven and Melville Papers. 


Though the Episcopal Church still existed, no bishops came 
to claim their seats. As the members who now met had been 
elected by their constituents merely to sit in a convention when 
no parliament was possible, by their first act they declared their 
present meeting to be a parliament. By their second act, they 
ratified the sovereign authority of William and Mary. 1 But 
after this the current of legislation no longer ran smoothly. An 
opposition to the government had been organised, embracing 
some of the ablest and neediest men of the day — men who had 
been disappointed of place, and who, for the first time in a 
Scotch parliament, exhibited the now well-known tactics of the 
opposition benches, by giving all the annoyance they could to 
the party in power. By the light of the Leven and Melville 
Papers, we can clearly trace the manoeuvres of the contending 
factions. The Club, for so the opposition was called, had re- 
solved upon the total abolition of the Lords of the Articles, 
and upon the expulsion from power of all who had been im- 
plicated in the tyrannies of the Stewarts. William, on the 
other hand, was willing to modify the constitution of the 
Articles, but not to abolish them, and had resolved that his 
government should comprehend the strength of all parties, 
without reference to the past. 

The government were anxious to bring up ecclesiastical 
affairs, that the time of the parliament might be occupied with 
legislating upon these. The Club resolved that ecclesiastical 
affairs should not be touched till their grievances were re- 
dressed. 2 It came to a vote, and church-government was 
delayed, and the abolition of the Articles was taken up, upon 
which there ensued a violent debate. About a fortnight later 
the Commissioner proposed, that seeing they were not likely 
to agree in regard to the committees to be substituted for the 
Articles, they should settle the government of the Church in 
open parliament. Lord Belhaven spoke in favour of this ; 
Lord Polwarth opposed it, declaring that there was no doing 

1 Tarbet's Acts of the Scottish Parliament. 

2 On the 26th of June 1689 Sir John Dalrymple writes to Lord Melville 
— M The party thinks the king will certainly in this session establish the 
church-government, and if it were done, other things that are not of so 
much moment may be left unfinished ; therefore they are prevailed with to 
stave off that which would anticipate many idle and humorous questions. 
But I am sure the generality of ministers would not be of that opinion; so 
to-morrow we are like to have a warm diet." On the 27th of June, Hamil- 
ton wrote to Melville — " I told them I desired them to consider of the 
settling of the Church, of purpose to give them business until his Majesty's 
pleasure came." (Leven and Melville Papers, pp. 8S, 89.) 




business in open parliament, and that committees must first be 
established. 1 The Church's polity was again put off. 

Besides these impediments thrown in the way of the Church's 
settlement by the contentions of political parties, there were 
great difficulties in the subject itself, and a great variety of 
opinions regarding it. The Viscount Tarbet, in a memorial 
relating to Church affairs laid before the government, re- 
marked that church-government had been made the pretence 
for the troubles of Scotland for a hundred years ; that Epis- 
copacy was odious to one part of the nation, Presbytery to the 
other ; that the Episcopalians were the more numerous and 
powerful, the Presbyterians the more zealous and hot ; that the 
parliament contained a majority of Presbyterians by the new 
mode of election pursued in burghs, but that the majority of 
the nobility and barons were for Episcopacy ; that if any one 
party got the power of settling the Church's polity, the other 
party would kick against it, and probably overturn it. He 
therefore proposed, as a compromise, that the ejected ministers 
should be replaced, where the heritors of the most land in the 
parish desired it ; that all the ministers holding benefices 
should be allowed to retain them, upon condition of their re- 
cognising the government ; that vacant churches should be 
planted by the people where there was no patron, and by the 
patron where there was one ; and that presbyteries and synods 
under the presidency of perpetual moderators, salaried out of 
the bishops' teinds, should be entrusted with the government 
of all ecclesiastical affairs. 2 

That the parliament should regulate the affairs of the 
Church was plain Erastianism. This happy thought occurred 
to the Episcopal clergy of the Diocese of Aberdeen, and 
therefore they laid before the Estates an address, begging that 
a General Assembly should be called to determine the Church's 
polity. The Royal Commissioner was thought to favour this 
plan; but the Earl of Crawford and the staunch Presby- 
terians cried out against it : The Conformist clergy would out- 
vote the Nonconformists by six to one, and a species of 
Episcopacy would again be established ; 3 the parliament must 
give a polity to the Church. It was the same turn which affairs 
had taken at the time of the Reformation, when some of the 

1 Letter, Lockhart to Melville, nth July 1689. (Leven and Melville 

2 Leven and Melville Papers, pp. 125-27. 
:: Ibid. p. 137. 


bishops protested that the changes to be effected in ecclesi- 
astical affairs ought of right to be entrusted to a convocation 
of the clergy. Politicians had no calling within the courts of 
the temple. 

In truth, one of the greatest difficulties to be solved was, 
who were to be the ministers and who were to be the rulers 
of the Revolution Church. Some were anxious that the 
Presbytery of 1592 should at once be established ; but others 
argued that the Church must be purged before its courts were 
constituted ; for, if not, the Episcopalians who still retained 
their parishes would in every case have a sweeping majority. 
Crawford wrote again and again to Lord Melville, earnestly 
urging this important consideration. Patronage, too, it was 
argued, must be abolished, or Episcopal patrons would thrust 
Episcopal incumbents into their parishes. 

Thus difficulty rose above difficulty. The Duke of Hamil- 
ton was in favour of some scheme which would comprehend 
the Episcopalians ; the Club, which commanded the majority 
of the House, promised the people that they would lend their 
help to the establishment of Presbytery, in its purest form, 
when their own ends were served. 1 The one party reminded 
the Estates of the violence of Presbytery in its day of power, 
and insisted that it should be restricted ; the other party 
spoke of the persecutions of the Prelatists, and asked that 
they should be plucked up root and branch. The president, 
in his own peculiar way, wrote to the secretary : — " I hope 
the Lord in His own time will dissipate these fogs that blind 
some of us, and enable us to erect a second temple, the glory 
of which shall outshine that which was first in our purest 
times." 2 

At length, about the middle of July, an act was passed 
abolishing Episcopacy, as a great grievance to the nation, 
and declaring that their Majesties, with consent of the 
Estates, would establish such a church-government as should 
be agreeable to the inclinations of the people. At the same 
time an act was voted repealing the Act 1669, regarding the 
royal supremacy. The first of these was touched by the 
sceptre, and became law ; but the second, together with an 
act afterwards passed to restore all the Presbyterian ministers 
ejected in 1662, were not touched ; and so they remained, in 
the meantime, dead letters in the statute-book. 3 

1 Leven and Melville Papers, pp. 90, 91. 2 Ibid. p. 137. 

3 See Tarbet's Collection of Acts. Also Melville Tapers — Hamilton to 
Melville, 18th July ; also Crawford to Melville, 23d July and 1st August. 


Episcopacy was now thrown down ; but Presbytery was 
yet to be built up. On the 2 2d of July the Commissioner 
laid before the Estates the draft of a bill for settling the 
government of the Church, which may be considered as con- 
taining the views of William and his government. It revived 
the Act 1592, generally regarded as the charter of Presbytery. 
It respected the rights of patrons. It ordained that all 
ministers in the kingdom should conform to the Presbyterian 
government ; and that, if they did so, and took the Oath of 
Allegiance, they should be continued in their livings. It pro- 
vided that the ministers ejected for not conforming to Epis- 
copacy, and for refusing to take the Test, should be restored 
to their parishes \ and those removed to make way for them 
provided for otherwise. It declared that the ecclesiastical 
courts must not meddle with civil affairs, as great scandal 
had thence arisen ; and that, to see this carried out, a royal 
commissioner should have a right to sit in them all. 1 This 
carefully guarded measure did not please the high-flown 
Presbyterians. Another bill, drawn up in agreement with an 
address presented by the Presbyterian ministers, was the 
same day laid on the table by Lord Cardross. The Com- 
missioner sent them both up to London to be canvassed there. 2 

A few days more, and the news of Dundee's victory at the 
wild Pass of Killiecrankie burst upon the metropolis. It was 
at first reported that General Mackay was killed, and that 
Dundee was pursuing his victory. The parliament was 
paralysed. But it was remarked that, while grief clouded 
almost every face, some of the westland Whigs looked gladder 
than ever : it was even said they were ready to flee to arms, 
and that, if they did so, they would leave his Majesty no more 
authority than the Doge of Venice. 3 W T hen intelligence of the 
disaster became more certain and more minute — when it was 
known that Dundee had fallen, and that Mackay was rallying 
his broken regiments — the panic began to abate. However, 
the parliament remained as unmanageable as ever. William 
refused to yield to its demands. It refused to vote him sup- 
plies. Finding it to become more and more troublesome, 
the Royal Commissioner adjourned it on the 2nd of August. 4 

1 A copy of this bill will be found in the Appendix to Carstare's State 

2 Leven and Melville Papers— Hamilton to Melville, 23d and 25th 
July ; also Crawford to Melville, 23d July, pp. 186-88. 

3 Sir William Lockhart to Melville, 30th July 1689. 

4 Hamilton to Melville, 1st and 2nd August. 


Thus the Estates broke up, and the kingdom was without 
a Church; Prelacy had been overthrown, but nothing had yet 
been substituted in its stead. By his Majesty's authority, kirk- 
sessions, presbyteries, and synods were meeting j 1 by their own 
authority, bishops were still ordaining priests, granting war- 
rants for marriages, rejoicing in their titles ; and the deprived 
ministers were suing for their stipends before the commissariat 
courts. 2 The community were in perfect uncertainty as to 
what was to be done, and the most contradictory reports were 
everywhere in circulation. It was said that some of the rabbled 
curates were to be forced back upon their parishes, and the 
westland gentry talked of putting themselves in a posture of 
defence. 3 The members of the Club declared loudly that the 
king had failed in his promises. On the other hand, it was 
told how pitiless the Council was in casting clergymen out of 
their cures for refusing to keep a fast on Sunday — the highest 
festival of the Church ; and how Presbyterians were rebaptiz- 
ing Episcopal children. There were even rumours that a 
coalition had been formed between the party of Hamilton and 
the Club, and that its object was to drive Melville and Stair 
from office, and strangle Presbytery. 4 In contemplating these 
things, Lord Crawford wrote to Lord Melville that he was like 
Hannah, of a sorrowful spirit ; and a fortnight later he declared 
he could find no sleep for thinking of the Church. " For 
though I dare not question," said he, " but that God hath 
begun to put His feet upon our waters, and that He will not 
draw in His arm which He hath bared until He make His 
enemies His footstool, and that He is an overmatch for them 
all ; that He will find out carpenters to fray all those horns 
which push at His ark, and that in due time He will level all 
those mountains which stand in Zerubbabel's way ; yet I have 
my fainting fits, and my distrustful heart doth often dictate 
harsh things to me." From this the President of the Scottish 
Parliament proceeds to plead poverty, and very pitifully he 
does it : " Though my own case," he continues, " were such as 
I were put to seek my next meal, as has been the fortune of a 
better man than I am, and is not very far from my present lot, 

1 Leven and Melville Papers — Instructions of the King to his Council, 
July 1689. 

2 Ibid.— Crawford to Melville, 24th December. 

3 Ibid. — Cunningham to Lord Cardross, 9th August. 

4 Ibid. — Sir John Dalrymple to Melville, 8th Feb. 1690. 


yet I will serve his Majesty as affectionately as if I were loaded 
with rewards." 1 

Besides the dangers which were known, there were others 
which were unknown, lying like hidden rocks under the violent 
contrary currents of public thought. Sir James Montgomery, 
the leader of the Club, had entered into a plot, in which some 
of the greatest nobles in the kingdom were engaged, to bring 
back James, upon condition that he would establish Presby- 
tery. The wildest Whigs joined hands with the wildest Jaco- 
bites to compass this Utopian plan. Happily the conspiracy 
came to naught, and six months revealed to the world the 
whole mystery of their iniquity. 

Thus months passed away, and the year 1690 
began. King William was quite prepared to 
establish Presbytery, but he was most unwilling to abolish 
patronage. 2 Moreover, he was desirous that the foundations 
of the new Church should be as widely laid as possible, and 
that it should comprehend all the ministers of the old Church 
who chose to conform to its discipline. But he began to see 
that some concession was necessary, if a Church was to be 
built up at all. On the 25th of April the parliament met 
which was to give us the Establishment which we still enjoy. 
Its first act was to abolish the Act 1669, which asserted the 
king's supremacy over all persons and in all causes. Its 
second act was to restore all the Presbyterian ministers who 
had been ejected from their livings for not complying with 
Prelacy. This done, the parliament paused in its full career 
of ecclesiastical legislation, and abolished the Lords of the 
Articles, who for so many centuries had managed the whole 
business of the Scotch Estates, and ordained that the electors 
of commissioners to the Estates should take the Oath of 
Allegiance before exercising the franchise. 

The next act forms the foundation of our present Establish- 
ment. It ratifies the " Westminster Confession of Faith;" 
it revives the Act 1592 ; it repeals all the laws in favour of 
Episcopacy ; it legalises the ejections of the western rabble ; 
it declares that the government of the Church was to be vested 
in the ministers who were ejected for nonconformity, on and 

1 Leven and Melville Papers — Lord Crawford to Lord Melville, 20th 
August 1689. 

2 On the 29th April 1690, wSir William Lockhart wrote to the Master of 
Melville — "The king, as to the settlement of Presbytery, seems only to 
stick at the patronages. He says it is the interest of the Crown, and the 
taking of men's property, and thinks that all their meetings, the General 
Assemblies, should be called the Authority." (Leven and Melville Papers.) 


after the ist January 1661, and were now restored, and those 
who had been or should be admitted by them ; it appoints 
the General Assembly to meet ; and empowers it to nominate 
visitors to purge out all insufficient, negligent, scandalous, and 
erroneous ministers, by due course of ecclesiastical process. 1 
In this act the Presbyterians gained all that they could desire, 
as Presbytery was established, and the government of the 
Church was placed entirely in their hands. 

By this act, the Westminster Confession became the creed 
of the Church, and is recorded at length in the minutes of 
the parliament. But the Catechisms and the " Directory of 
Worship " are not found by its side. A pamphleteer of the 
day declares, that the Confession was read amid much yawn- 
ing and weariness, and by the time it was finished, the Estates 
grew restive, and would hear no more. It is at least certain 
that the Catechisms and Directory are not once mentioned, 
though the Presbyterian ministers were very anxious that they 
should. From this it would appear that, while the State 
has fixed the Church's faith, it has not fixed the Church's 
worship. The Church may adopt any form of worship she 
pleases without violating any act of parliament. She must 
ever believe as the Westminster divines believed ; but she 
may worship in a surplice, or without a surplice, with a liturgy, 
or without a liturgy ; in this she is free. The Covenants were 
utterly ignored, though there were many in the Church who 
would have wished them revived. 

Patronage still existed, but it was also doomed. The king 
had instructed Lord Melville, who acted as his Commissioner 
in this parliament, to give up patronage if it was found neces- 
sary. Melville staved off the matter as long as he could ; but 
the arrival of the French fleet on the English coast, and the 
discovery of Montgomery's conspiracy with the Jacobites, con- 
vinced him that it was necessary to propitiate the parliament 
and the Presbyterians by yielding even this. 2 It was enacted 
that in all vacancies the heritors and elders should nominate 
a person for the approval of the congregation ; and that if the 

1 See Tarbet's Acts of the Scottish Parliament. 

2 Leven and Melville Papers. The king, in his instructions to Melville, 
25th February 1690, says, " You are to pass an act for abolishing patron- 
age if the parliament shall desire the same." His Majesty, in his remarks 
on the Act for Settling Church Government in Scotland, transmitted to 
Lord Melville on the 22d May speaks differently, and as if he were deter- 
mined to preserve patronage. Lord Melville, in his report to the king, 
explains the pressing circumstances under which he passed the act. 


congregation disapproved of the nominee, they were to give in 
their reasons of disapproval to the Presbytery, by whom the 
matter was to be finally determined. In consideration of their 
being deprived of their right of presentation, patrons were to 
receive from the parish the sum of six hundred merks, and a 
right to all the teinds to which no other could show a title. 

It was not without a grudge that William granted so much 
to his Presbyterian subjects. He was fearful of offending the 
English Church ; he was anxious that as many of the Episco- 
pal clergy should be retained in their livings as possible ; he 
dreaded the violence of men who were still smarting under 
recent injuries, and who now held in their hand the whole 
ecclesiastical power of the country ; and though he gave his 
consent to the abolition of patronage, he appears to have 
afterwards rued his having done it. 

One of the great problems of the time was, who were to 
form the governing body of the new Church — the whole clergy 
of the kingdom, or only the uncompromising Presbyterians ? l 
The parliament had solved this difficulty by declaring, that 
only those who had been ejected for nonconformity since 1661 
should exercise the governing power ; and of these only sixty 
now remained. They were allowed to associate with them- 
selves such ministers and elders as they chose; but still it was 
felt to be a hazardous experiment to entrust the fate of so 
many in the hands of so few, and that in a period of bitter 
theological strife. As the day for the holding of the Assembly 
approached, the government felt anxious about the result. 
Letters were written by influential noblemen to all the in- 

1 " I see," wrote Sir John Dalrymple to Lord Melville, on the 24th July 
1689, " we shall make no advance at this time in the Church government. 
Some talk that they will not have Presbytery established, till the Church 
be purged, and it be cleared in whose hands it must be committed ; so 
they say, there may be an act in plain parliament, that all thrust out either 
by their nonconformity to Episcopacy or the Test may be restored, and a 
committee of parliament named, eight for each state, with some ministers 
on both sides, to determine who of the curates are vicious and scandalous, 
and who are to be retained." "It appears strange," wrote Lord Craw- 
ford, "that it should be pleaded by any that the government of the Church 
be put equally in the hands of conform ministers and nonconform, when 
Prelacy is abolished, the act for that effect touched, and the whole bulk of 
such disaffected to our civil interest, unto a degree of praying for the late 
king. Can it be imagined we shall have Presbytery established, or that 
government continued, when the management is in the hands of men of 
different, if not opposite, principles, but being three to one for number, 
would certainly in a short time cast out such as were not of a piece with 
them ? " See Leven and Melville Papers. 


fluential ministers, begging them to observe moderation. The 
great patron of Presbyterianism, the Earl of Crawford, was 
busy among his friends, telling them how much depended 
upon their conduct, and that a reverse of fortune was not 
impossible if their violence was unbearable. They were urged 
to do little more than meet, take possession as it were of the 
fabric of the Church, and then dissolve, leaving legislation to 
calmer times. 1 

The 1 6th of November came, and the General Assembly 
met, after an interval of forty years. 2 Gabriel Cunningham, 
who had presided at a meeting of ministers and elders to 
arrange matters for the gathering of the Assembly after so long 
an interval, occupied the chair, till a new Moderator was 
chosen. Lord Carmichael appeared as his Majesty's Commis- 
sioner, and presented a letter in which the king, with brief but 
significant emphasis, said, "We expect that your management 
shall be such as we shall have no reason to repent of what we 
have done. A calm and peaceable procedure will be no less 
pleasing to us than it becometh you. We never could be of 
the mind that violence was suited to the advancing of true 
religion ; nor do we intend that our authority shall ever be a 
tool to the irregular passions of any party. Moderation is what 
religion enjoins, neighbouring Churches expect from, and we 
recommend to you. 3 

The first important deed of the Assembly w r as receiving into 
the Church the three Cameronian ministers — for there were 
only three — Thomas Lining, Alexander Shields, and William 
Boyd. They laid before the Assembly a longer paper and a 
shorter one : the Assembly received them upon the statement 
and submission made in the latter, and refused to allow the 
former to be read, " in regard that though there be several 
good things in it, yet the same doth also contain several 
peremptory and gross mistakes, unreasonable and impractic- 
able proposals, and uncharitable and injurious reflections, 
tending rather to kindle contentions than to compose di- 
visions." 4 

1 See Leven and Melville Papers. 

2 This Assembly consisted of about a hundred and eighty members, lay 
and clerical. There were no representatives from the north. 

3 See Acts of General Assembly, published by Church Law Society, 

p. 222. 

4 Acts of Assembly, pp. 224, 225. This paper was afterwards pub- 
lished as a pamphlet, entitled " An Account of the Methods and Motives 
of the late Union and Submission to the Assembly, 1690 ; " and a very 



Such is the history of this transaction as it is to be gathered 
from the records of the Assembly, but under it there is another 
history more secret and more marvellous. From the time the 
Prince of Orange landed in the country, and Presbytery was 
likely to be established, the ministers of the Society people 
had shown a disposition to forget the differences which had 
separated them from their Presbyterian brethren, and concur 
with them in building up the Revolution Church. But the 
people had become sterner and stricter than their ministers, as 
is frequently the case, and declared they could not join hands 
with such men till they acknowledged their defections, and, in 
public synod, condemned them. Hamilton of Preston, who 
had fled to Holland after the rout of Bothwell, was now come 
back : his fanaticism was not abated by his banishment ; he 
was revered by the Societies as a prophet and a king, and he 
counted it his duty to relieve his burdened conscience by pro- 
testing against the acknowledgment of the Prince of Orange, 
without his having taken the Covenants ; against the Earl of 
Angus's regiment, as a sinful association with malignants ; and 
against joining with ministers from whom they had withdrawn, 
till first they acknowledged their sins. 

Meetings were held, reasons were given for and against, 
and bitterness and wrath reigned in these assemblies of the 
saints. When we hear all, we shall not marvel that the minis- 
ters were anxious to escape from the spirit they had evoked. 
They had no voice in their own Societies. They were kept 
merely to preach and administer the sacraments to such as the 
Societies deemed worthy — a chosen few. A class of men had 
arisen who overrode the ministers, and ruled all things. 
When a general meeting was held, the ministers were put to 
the door ; when a decision was come to, they were called in 
to hear it. In fact, to such a subordinate place had the minis- 
terial gift been degraded, that all the Societies in Scotland 
had generally but one minister ; after the death of Cameron, 
Cargill alone remained ; after the death of Cargill, Renwick 
was raised up ; after the death of Renwick, Lining was ordained ; 
and in 1688 at least, Shields and Boyd were only preachers. 
It is impossible to read the annals of these times without being 
struck by the strong likeness between these Covenanting 

full abstract is given in the Epistle to the Reader appended to Walker's 
"Life of Renwick." Mr Napier in his "Memorials of Claverhouse," 
confounds it with an entirely different document. (See Edinburgh Review, 
July 1863, pp. 27, 28, Article by Author of this History.) 


Societies and the congregations now in Caithness and Ross, 
where "the Men " are dominant. Fanaticism, driven by the 
light of advancing civilisation from the south and west, 
appears to have taken refuge in the far north, where it un- 
happily lingers still. 1 

Lining, Shields, and Boyd had made up their minds to 
join the Church, and did it, notwithstanding that the paper 
in which they mentioned the backslidings of the land and its 
breaches of Covenant was suppressed. But their followers 
were not so bent upon what they regarded as a weak and 
wicked compliance. A document containing their views was 
drawn up, and a deputation hurried to Edinburgh to present 
it to the Assembly. In this document they declared how 
affecting it had been for them to behold many ministers join 
hands with the perjured Prelatic hirelings and intruders ; that 
it was an augmentation of their sorrow to see many others 
accepting an indulgence which flowed from the supremacy 
of Christ bestowed upon a miserable mortal ; and a sad 
stumbling-block to see others faintly fleeing the country or 
lurking in hiding-places who ought to have put the trumpet 
to their mouth, and given forth a certain sound. They 
declared that it had been humbling to them, when iniquity 
was established by law, to see ministers yielding obedience, 
taking sinful oaths themselves, and teaching others to do so 
too ; and very burdensome to their consciences, when a 
Popish toleration was granted, to think that many had taken 
advantage of it, and rendered thanks to the Popish tyrant. 
These things had been done and had not been repented of. 
Ministers were hiding their sins, instead of mourning over 
them. The Covenants, moreover, had not been renewed — 
they had not even been mentioned ; the sovereigns were not 
asked to purge England and Ireland of Prelacy ; and the 
period between 1638 and 1649, being years of the right hand 
of the Most High, had not been revived; curates were suffered 
to continue in their parishes, and many who had been guilty 

1 Another confirmation of this opinion is to be found in the sentence of 
deposition passed by the Assembly of 1705 upon John Hepburn, who 
appears to have inherited the principles of the Cameronians, and frater- 
nized with the remnant of them. "And in particular," the sentence 
proceeds, "finding that he asserted that communicating with persons 
scandalous made those that communicate with them guilty of unworthy 
communicating — that he neither has dispensed the Holy Sacrament of the 
Supper to others, nor partaken thereof himself, for more than sixteen 
years," &c. Such cases have been heard of in days not remote. 


of gross degrees of compliance were not debarred from the 
sacraments by the discipline of the Church. 

Happily this paper was arrested in its progress to the Assem- 
bly by the Committee of Overtures. It had been safer to 
have brought into the Assembly-house a box of detonating 
gunpowder ; for three-fourths of the clerical conclave were 
implicated in the imaginary crimes which were so minutely 
detailed, and their anger would undoubtedly have burned 
against the plain-speaking Cameronians. The committee 
told the deputation that their paper could not be received, 
but tried to satisfy their scruples by saying that God's causes 
of wrath against the land would be carefully specified in the 
act appointing a national fast. 1 

The Societies were indignant at the treatment they received. 
They thought their peculiar principles were the salt of the 
Church, and now they were quietly thrown aside. They 
abused their ministers for having betrayed them ; they abused 
themselves, with the same good-will with which the monks 
scourged their own backs, for having owned the Prince of 
Orange, for having owned the Convention, for having owned 
the Assembly. They were at a loss as to what they should 
do. They had now no ministers. Some of them thought 
they might go and hear the Presbyterian ministers, after giving 
in to them a written protest against their backslidings, and 
setting their sins before their face. 2 Some of them kept care- 
fully aloof from the Presbyterian Church altogether, as from 
an accursed thing. In time they managed to get a minister 
who thought like themselves. But they soon sunk into insig- 
nificance. The importance which attached to them when 
they were hanged for attending a field conventicle no longer 
belonged to them when they were allowed to meet where 
they pleased, preach what they pleased, and mourn over the 
backslidings of their brethren as long as they pleased. Still 
they linger on, a very small remnant, and may be regarded as 
the first-born of Scottish Dissenters. They hold a religious 
creed which is inconsistent with their political duties ; but 
their peculiar faith is only a tradition, and is quite inopera- 
tive. Speculatively, they do not recognise the monarch, for 
she has not subscribed the Covenants ; they do not pay 

1 I have taken my account of these proceedings from a book which may 
be considered as authoritative — "Faithful Contendings Displayed" — 
almost copying the language of the documents referred to. 

2 A copy of a paper of this kind, which was proposed, and perhaps in 
some cases used, is given in the " Faithful Contendings." 

A. D. 1690.] ACTS OF THE ASSEMBLY. l8l 

taxes ; they do not exercise the franchise ; but practically, 
they discharge these duties as honestly and well as the most 
loyal subjects in the realm. 

But we must return to the Assembly from which we have 
wandered, to follow the career of the children of the Covenant. 
It was thought necessary that a national fast should be held ; 
but it was made subject of debate as to what were the sins for 
which they should mourn. Some ministers, more zealous than 
wise, insisted that in the act appointing the fast there should 
be a careful catalogue of sinful compliances, such as taking the 
Test Oath and acknowledging the Episcopate ; and it is 
abundantly evident that, if this had been done, some wounds, 
instead of being healed, would have been opened up anew, and 
the day of fasting, instead of being consecrated to humiliation, 
would have been devoted to malignity, evil-speaking, and 
strife. Happily prudence prevailed, and the act was carefully 
worded, mentioning only such sins as most would readily 
acknowledge to be sins, and alluding to others only in a general 
way. Besides this, the Assembly made some regulations re- 
garding the union of presbyteries where their complement of 
ministers was incomplete ; regarding the celebration of mar- 
riage, the reclaiming of Papists, the public administration of 
Baptism and the Lord's Supper; and for a supply of Irish 
Bibles and catechisms to the Highland parishes. The 
Assembly farther annulled all the anathemas and excommuni- 
cations thundered thirty or forty years ago by the Resolu- 
tioners and Protesters against each other ; and finally appointed 
two commissions, one to visit the country to the north of the 
Tay, and the other the country to the south of the Tay, to 
purge out of the ministry ail who should be found to be in- 
sufficient, supinely negligent, scandalous, or erroneous, and to 
see that all who were retained in the Church and admitted to 
its government signed the Confession of Faith, and submitted 
to the Presbyterian discipline. 1 After sitting for nearly a 
month, the Assembly adjourned, and Lord Carmichael had the 
happiness to report to his government that all its proceedings 
had been characterised by moderation. 2 The high principles 
of the Covenanting period had been allowed to sink into 
silence. Some wished the king to be informed in the letter 
which they sent him, that Presbytery was not only in accord- 

1 The Instructions given to the commissions are to be found in the Acts 
of Assembly, p. 232. 

2 Leven and Melville Papers. 


ance with the inclinations of the people, but had its warrant in 
the Word of God \ but even this was allowed to drop. 

But though the Assembly had happily avoided excess, there 
was a danger that its commissions might not. They were 
armed with very plenary power to bind and to loose, to take in 
and to cast out, and there were fears they might abuse it. If 
the Church cherished hostility to any, it was to the Episcopa- 
lians ; and it was with the Episcopalians the commissions had 
to do. General Mackay, who was a staunch Presbyterian and 
a good man, felt this, as many others did, and wrote from Lon- 
don to his friend the Laird of Grant, who was on the commis- 
sion for the north side of the Tay, strongly urging lenity. He 
declared that the permanence of Presbyterianism depended 
upon its being made supportable to the king and the kingdom. 
He hinted his fears that undue severity might be used, and 
affirmed that if he were as much an enemy to Presbytery as he 
was a friend, he could easily enlist on the side of the govern- 
ment a more formidable party against Presbytery than he could 
for it. 1 

The commissions did not use their power with moderation. 
Their instructions prevented them from bringing any one to 
their bar merely for past compliance with Episcopacy ; but* 
under the head of insufficient, negligent, scandalous, or 
erroneous, they managed to reach a large number of Episcopal 
ministers, whom they deposed from their office. Is there not 
some reason to suspect that it was their Episcopacy that gave 
the deepest dye to their crimes? In the prelatic pamphlets 
of the day, we are told that the most frivolous pretexts were 
enough to condemn an obnoxious man ; the having recom- 
mended to his parishioners " ScougalPs Catechism," or " The 
Whole Duty of Man ; " having repeated the Creed, or sung the 
Doxology ; having spoken ill of the Covenant, or well of the 
bishops. 2 These charges are probably exaggerated ; but it is 
certain that the commissions made great havoc of the Church. 
Whole provinces were laid desolate. 3 The churches were shut 

1 The letter to which reference is made, was recently discovered by Mr 
Joseph Robertson, of the Register Office, and read before the Society of 
Antiquaries, in whose Proceedings it is now printed. 

2 History of the First General Assembly, 1690, quoted by Stephens in 
his History of the Church, vol. iii. p. 525. 

3 M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, p. 50. History of the First General 
Assembly. In this pamphlet two ministers are said to have declared in 
the Assembly, "That there was not so much as the face of a church in 
all Galloway and the west ; there were no ministers in all that extensive 


up, and the services discontinued. It was found easier to 
pluck up than to plant. Enough of qualified men could not 
be found to fill the vacant cures. The evils brought upon the 
country by the Episcopalians in 1662, by the sudden ejection 
of nearly three hundred ministers, were repeated by the 
Presbyterians in 1690. 

It is certain that most of the clergy thus cast out of their 
livings were disaffected to the government ; that they refused 
to pray for King William, and continued to pray for King 
James ; but it is certain also that King William himself was 
more inclined to overlook this than the Presbyterian Church. 
Many are said to have been deterred from giving in their 
submission from the dread that, when they could not be 
accused of disloyalty, they would be found guilty of ignorance, 
heresy, or sin. They preferred to be ruined, retaining their 
principles, than to surrender their principles, and then find 
that they had sold themselves for nought. 

It was thought necessary that the universities should be 
purged as well as the Church, for the universities were almost 
entirely Episcopalian. An act had been passed declaring that 
no principal, professor, regent, master, or other functionary 
should be allowed to bear office in any college or university 
unless he took the Oaths of Allegiance, subscribed the Con- 
fession of Faith, and submitted himself to the government of 
the Presbyterian Church. Under this act a commission was 
appointed to visit each of the four universities ; and in the 
summer of 1690 they went to work, evidently with hearty good- 
will. At Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, the great majority 
of the principals and professors stood true to their former 
faith and allegiance, and accordingly were dispossessed, to 
make way for Presbyterian successors. Men, venerable for 
their wisdom and years, were driven from the seats of learning 
which they had adorned, and thrown penniless upon the world. 
Such are the sad incidents which attend revolution. Though 
a commission was appointed to visit Aberdeen, they never 
even entered upon their duties ; and there the academicians 
were allowed to retain their seats undisturbed. It was 
probably felt that in the stronghold of Episcopacy the attempt 
to cast them out would be a dangerous experiment \ and that 

country but themselves." It was in the northern provinces, however, that 
the greatest desolation was made. For the next twenty years the great 
business of the Assembly was planting vacant parishes, and occasionally 
supplying them with itinerant preachers till they were planted. 


the citizens would maintain them in their chairs, in spite of 
any sentences of the commission. 1 

The Episcopalians who had been thrust out of the Church 
by the zeal of the Assembly's commission, knowing the tolerant 
temper of the sovereigns, carried their griefs to the foot of the 
throne. A deputation proceeded to Flanders, where William 
was with the army, and, getting access to him, managed to 
enlist his sympathies in their cause. They were made the 
bearers of letters to the Council and the commission, in which 
the monarch begged that severity should cease, that redress 
should be given to those who had already been wronged, and 
that such of the Episcopalians as qualified to the government 
and submitted to Presbytery should be allowed to remain in 
their parishes. The royal letters were regarded by the stern 
Presbyterians as an Erastian interference with spiritual affairs, 
and treated almost with contempt. The commission went 
vigorously on its work of purgation, believing itself doing the 
work of God. A second letter had no more effect than the 
first. 2 

The Assembly had been adjourned till the 1st of November 
1 69 1, but before the day of meeting came it was again ad- 
journed till the 15th of January 1692. 3 By these adjourn- 
ments, more than by anything else, did William vex the Pres- 
byterians. When the 15th of January arrived, the Assembly 
met. The southern presbyteries were pretty well represented ; 
but from all the presbyteries north of Dundee only live com- 
missioners came. Its sederunt of the northern synods is a 
perfect blank. Some have attributed this to the length of the 
road and the inclemency of the season, and even insinuated 
that William had purposely adjourned the Assembly to the 
depths of winter. 4 But a much better reason for no Presby- 
terians coming from the north is simply that there were no 
Presbyterians to come. The region beyond the Tay was 
almost entirely Episcopal. 

1 Skinner's Ecclesiastical History. Stephen's History, Sec. 

2 In one of these letters, written at the Hague on the 13th February 
1 69 1, William strongly urged that no man should be cast out of his 
living if he gave in his submission to the existing government in Church 
and State. 

3 The proceedings of this Assembly are not to be found among the 
printed Acts, probably on account of the violence Vith which it was closed. 
Recently, however, Principal Lee has printed its proceedings from the 
records in his possession, and it is from this interesting document that 
the account in the text is taken. 

4 This is the account of the matter which Principal Lee gives in his 
Introduction to the Proceedings of this Assembly. 


The Earl of Lothian occupied the chair of State as Royal 
Commissioner, and presented the usual letter from the king. 
It was somewhat sharp. William referred to the letters which 
he had written from the Hague and Anderlecht. He com- 
plained that the assurances he had received of their readiness 
to take their Episcopal brethren into communion with them 
had not been fulfilled. He stated that it had been represented 
to him that they were not a true General Assembly of the Church, 
as a majority of the ministers of the Church were unrepresented. 
He informed them that he had instructed the Conformist 
ministers to apply to them for admission, in terms of a formula 
and declaration which he had delivered to the Commissioner. 
He said, he thought it was just and right that the commissions 
for managing these matters should, for the sake of impartiality, 
be composed of an equal number of Episcopalians and Pres- 
byterians. The Lord High Commissioner followed up this 
letter by a speech, in which he strongly urged the Assembly 
to admit the Conformist Episcopal clergy. " Church govern- 
ment/' said he, " is a hedge set about the vineyard, but it was 
never intended to keep out fellow-labourers." 

Two days after this the Commissioner produced the formula 
and declaration, which the king proposed should be taken by 
Episcopal ministers before their reception into the Church. 
The subscriber promised to submit to, and heartily concur 
with, Presbyterian government, and sign the Confession of 
Faith and Catechisms. The Assembly referred the considera- 
tion of it to a committee. Following up the good intentions 
of the king, Episcopal ministers from different parts of the 
country sent in addresses to the Assembly, begging to be ad- 
mitted into the bosom of the Presbyterian Church. These 
addresses were disposed of, as troublesome matters often are, 
by being referred to a committee. One man only was admit- 
ted, for he had not been ashamed to declare that he had always 
been a Presbyterian at heart. 

Thus day after day passed, and still nothing was done 
toward the great object which the king had in view — the 
amalgamation of the Presbyterians and Episcopalians. The 
truth is, the Presbyterians, though they did not broadly say so, 
were not prepared for such an amalgamation. Recent circum- 
stances had increased rather than lessened the jealousies of the 
contending factions. There were changes in the government 
which seemed to bode no good to the Presbyterians. The 
Earl of Tweeddale, who had been involved in the Jacobite 


plot, was made Chancellor of the Kingdom. The Earl of 
Melville, the fast friend of Presbytery, was removed from his 
post of Secretary of State, and the Master of Stair, whose 
hands were red with the blood of the saints, was put in his 
place. There was another circumstance which equally annoyed 
the Presbyterians and elated the Episcopalians. The manner 
in which the Episcopal clergy had been thrust out of their 
livings, and reduced to sudden beggary, was loudly talked of 
in England. Squires and bishops were alike indignant. The 
government got the blame of suffering such things, though 
William himself was as indignant as any. The Episcopalians 
well knew this state of feeling, and already spoke as if the 
battle were theirs. They proclaimed that the king was with 
them, that the government was with them, that England was 
with them, and that the Church of Scotland would soon be 
Episcopal once more. These anticipated triumphs only served 
to provoke the Presbyterians, and to render them more jealous 
and more unyielding than ever. They were suspicious of the 
king. 1 They knew that notwithstanding all the ejections 
which had taken place the Episcopalians still formed a majority 
in the Church, and that if they were admitted to a vote in the 
Church's judicatories, they might frame and fashion matters as 
they pleased. The sceptre, which they now held, would 
depart from them. It was the same policy which led the 
United States of America to refuse full representation to the 
South for so many years after the rebellion. 

Nearly a month had now slipped away; the 13th of 
February had come. On that day the High Commissioner 
rose up and said — "You have now sat for about a month, 
which was a competent time both to have done what was the 
principal design in calling this Assembly — the uniting you with 
your brethren — and also to have attended to other matters 
affecting the Church; but his Majesty perceiving no great in- 
clination among you to comply with his demands, hath com- 
manded me to dissolve the present Assembly ; so I, in his 
Majesty's name and authority, do dissolve this General 

The Commissioner had declared the Assembly dissolved 
without appointing another day for its meeting. But the 
Presbyterians had not forgotten their ancient principles. They 
held that the Church had an inherent right to meet when it 
pleased ; that King William's power was cumulative, not 
1 Burnet's History, vol. iii. pp. 95, 96. 


privative ; that he might appoint meetings if he chose ; but, 
if he did not, that they were not the less entitled to meet by 
their authority derived from the King Jesus. When the Com- 
missioner had done speaking, the Moderator therefore rose 
and asked if the Assembly were dissolved without naming a 
day for another. u His Majesty will appoint another in due 
time," said his Grace, " of which you will be timeously adver- 
tised." " Shall I be heard a few words ?" asked the Moderator. 
" I cannot hear you as the Moderator," said the Commis- 
sioner, " but as a private person you may speak." Upon this 
the Moderator said, that though they were under the greatest 
obligations to his Majesty, and ready to obey his lawful com- 
mands in all things, they must declare that the office-bearers 
in the Church had an intrinsic power to meet about its affairs, 
and that this dissolution of the Assembly without indicting a 
new one was not to prevent their yearly General Assemblies, 
granted by the laws of the kingdom. Having said this, the 
Moderator was about to close the Assembly by prayer, but the 
members called upon him to mention a day for their next 
meeting. The Moderator, accordingly, before pronouncing 
the blessing, named the third Wednesday of August 1693 as 
the day to which the Assembly adjourned, which was received 
with applause. 1 The contest which the Church had waged 
with James VI. was thus renewed with William III., a less 
tyrannical monarch, but a much more dangerous man to 
meddle with. There was angry feeling on both sides — the 
king inveighing against the insolence of the Church, and the 
Church inveighing against the Erastianism of the king. 2 

But these feelings were, for a time at least, lost in the 
horror and indignation which filled the country at the massacre 
which had just been perpetrated in the wild pass of Glencoe. 
The Highland clans had not yet learned submission to regular 
government. They still retained their loyalty to the Stewarts, 
and their fondness for plunder and war. They had fought 
with Dundee at Killiecrankie, they continued in arms after his 
death. William offered an indemnity to all who would take 
the oaths ; and more than once [prolonged the period ap- 
pointed for doing so. The 31st day of December 1691 was 
finally fixed as the last day for submission, and it was declared 

1 See Principal Lee's Proceedings of this Assembly. Also Stewart of 
Pardovan's Collections, book i. title xv. 

2 Testimony Bearing Exemplified, pp. 283, 284. Burnet's History, vol. 
iii. p. 96. 


that all who had not submitted then would be exposed to 
military execution. Macdonald of Glencoe held out to the 
very last, but on the 31st of December he presented himself 
before the Governor of Fort William, and offered to take the 
oaths. The governor, being merely a military man, declined 
to take them ; and, as the snow was deep on the ground, four 
or five days elapsed before Macdonald could present himself 
to the sheriff at Inverary ; but when he did present himself, 
after some hesitation, the oaths were regularly administered 
and taken. In the February following, a party of soldiers 
were quartered in the glen. The inhabitants believing that 
their chief had made his peace with the government, felt no 
alarm. For twelve days they entertained their guests with 
highland hospitality. The chief himself was daily with the 
officers ; he drank with them, played at cards with them, and 
spent the last evening of his life with them. But a horrid 
butchery had been projected. In the darkness of the night 
the word was given, and the work was begun. Macdonald 
was shot down while dressing to receive the lieutenant who 
had knocked at his door as a friend ; men and women were 
dragged from their beds to be murdered on the floor ; boys 
were stabbed when clinging to the soldiers' knees and crying for 
mercy. About forty were thus massacred, and a miserable 
remnant fled to the hills, where many of them perished from 
hunger and cold. The majority of the doomed Macdonalds 
escaped, but it was only, through mismanagement that a single 
soul was left alive. 1 

A thrill of horror went over the country as this fearful story 
was told. It spread beyond the country, and was repeated on 
the Continent. It gave new hopes to the Jacobites, and in- 
spired the Highland clans with a hatred of William which they 
had not felt before. His friends tried to excuse him. They 
said he had signed the instructions not knowing their nature ; 
that he had been kept in ignorance of the submission of the 
chief; that Breadalbane and the Master of Stair were the 
authors of the diabolical deed. The country felt then, as it 
does still, that the monarch was responsible in a large measure 
for the great crime. It lessened a popularity which had never 
been great, and cast a dark shade over his many virtues and 
his great services to the country and the Church. 

1 Report of the Commission given by his Majesty for inquiring into the 
slaughter of the men of Glencoe, subscribed at Holyrood House the 20th 
day of June 1693 — to be found in Carstares's State Papers, pp. 236-54. 
See also Macaulay's History. 

a.d. 1693.] THE OATH OF ASSURANCE. 189 

In April 1693 the Scottish parliament met. Its first act 
appointed the third Thursday of every month to be observed 
as a fast on account of the war which William was waging with 
France — a tax upon time which a less idle generation could 
hardly afford. The next act which had an influence upon 
ecclesiastical affairs was regarding the oaths to be taken 
to government. The country was kept in a state of perpetual 
uneasiness by the dread of Jacobite insurrections and invasions. 
It was known that many of the gentry, and almost all the 
Episcopal clergy, still fondly cherished an attachment to the 
exiled dynasty, and clung to the hope of seeing it restored. 
Yet many of these had taken the Oath of Allegiance. It was 
suspected that in taking it they meant merely to acknowledge 
the fact that William reigned, without recognising his right to 
reign. The Oath of Assurance was therefore devised, in which 
the swearer declared William to be king, de jure as well as de 
facto ; and the parliament required the oath to be taken by all 
holding office, and, among others, by the clergy, both Episco- 
pal and Presbyterian. 

When the subject was discussed in parliamentary committee,, 
hints were thrown out that even the Presbyterians might 
scruple at such an oath, but such fears were deemed to be 
visionary. It was affirmed that some of the ministers had been 
sounded, and that not one of them would object ; and their 
great patron, the Earl of Crawford, gave his influence and vote 
in favour of the act. 1 When, however, the act was passed and 
canvassed out of doors, it was found that the Presbyterian 
ministers were almost unanimously opposed to the taking of 
the oath. It was argued that the act obliged them dogmati- 
cally to define and determine, under the sacred seal of an 
oath, points which in themselves were doubtful and disputable; 
that it asked them to lay aside their reason and deliver them- 
selves up, bound hand and heel, as a sacrifice upon every 
revolution ; nay, that it required them to make a precedent by 
which the Church should be miserably enslaved, and ministers 
necessitated to juggle with Almighty God, by oath, for which 
all generations should hold them in abhorrence. " Where is 
there a point," it was asked, " that hath been more earnestly 
and obstinately disputed than the doctrine of deposing kings 
and magistrates ? Are there not arguments brought from the 
Holy Scriptures, from the nature of magistracy, from the peace 

1 See Secretary Johnstone's Letters to Carstares in Carstares's State 


of society, from the dreadful consequences, the vast deluges 
of blood, the lamentable dissolution of kingdoms, which have 
followed such undertakings, whereby many learned and pious 
men have endeavoured, at all times, to overthrow that king- 
dethroning power, which never can be practised without 
greater effusion of blood and violation of all rights than the 
greatest tyrants have ever occasioned. And why, then, should 
parliament, at this time of day, impose a yoke upon the 
Church, which neither we nor our fathers were made sensible 
of before ? Amidst all the past struggles about controverted 
titles to the crown, the Church was never bound by oath to 
either of the contending parties, and why should a party oath 
be imposed upon it now ? " l By such general reasonings as 
these, in regard to the origin of government, the Presbyterians 
were disinclined to the Oath of Assurance; as the Episco- 
palians were by a positive belief that James and not William 
was king by right. 

But the act which had the most immediate influence upon 
ecclesiastical affairs was entitled, " An Act for Settling the 
Quiet and Peace of the Church." In this act their Majesties 
were requested to call a meeting of the General Assembly 
for ordering the affairs of the Church, and more especially for 
admitting to a share in the government of the Church all the 
Episcopal ministers who should take the Oaths of Allegiance 
and Assurance, subscribe the Confession of Faith, and acknow- 
ledge the Presbyterian government as the only government of 
the Church in Scotland. It was farther declared in this act 
that all who should not qualify themselves might be deposed, 
and that all who did qualify themselves would be protected in 
their churches and livings till they were regularly received into 
the ecclesiastical judicatories. 2 

There was a reason besides that stated in the act for the 
Estates addressing their Majesties to summon a General 
Assembly. The Commissioner had dissolved the last Assembly 
in anger without fixing a day for a future one. The Assembly 
had appointed a day of its own, and that day was now rapidly 
approaching. The ministers talked as if they were determined 
to meet ; and the government felt that if they did so, the 
dignity of the crown would be compromised, and one of its 
prerogatives surrendered to violence. William either did not 

1 Letter of the English Presbyterians to their brethren in Scotland. See 
M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, pp. 54-57. 

2 Tarbet's Acts of the Scottish Parliament. 


feel himself strong enough, or was not arbitrary enough, to do 
as Cromwell did — surround the Assembly-house with soldiery, 
and march out the members. The expedient was therefore 
fallen upon of the Estates addressing their Majesties to call a 
meeting of the Assembly, not upon the very day fixed by itself, 
but upon a day not far off. 1 In this way, the honour 
both of the king and the Church was saved, in the point upon 
which they were equally sensitive. 

The Presbyterian ministers thought that the terms upon 
which the Episcopalians were to be admitted to a share in 
the government of the Church were too easy ; the most of the 
Episcopalians declared that they were so hard that they could 
not accept of them. How could they take the Oath of Assur- 
ance, they said, when even the Presbyterians refused it? 
There were articles in the Westminster Confession which they 
could not in conscience subscribe. There were points 
in the Presbyterian discipline to which they could not 
in conscience submit. And when such was the case, 
was it not too bad, they said, that they should be turned out 
of their parishes, reduced to beggary, and even prevented from 
exercising in private their sacred functions ? They had edu- 
cated themselves for the ministry, and had entered the Church 
when Episcopacy was established by law ; they had grown 
gray in ministering at the altar ; their parishioners were at- 
tached to them, and wished no change ; and why, then, should 
the sacred bond be broken ? 2 If an ecclesiastical revolution 
were occurring in our day, such considerations as these would 
undoubtedly have weight ; but notions about the necessity of 
protecting existing interests were little known in the seven- 
teenth century. As there was a time under Mussulman rule 
when pachas turned out of office were necessarily bowstrung, 
so there has been a time in our Church's history when Episco- 
palians and Presbyterians, as they in turn came into power, 
thought it necessary to ruin their predecessors. The Popish 
incumbents were more kindly dealt with by the Protestants : 
they had two-thirds of their benefices secured to them so long 
as they lived. 

The General Assembly had been summoned to meet on the 
29th of March 1694. In the meantime, the Presbyterian 
ministers made an application to the Privy Council to be re- 

1 Secretary Johnstone managed to bring this about. See his letter to 
Carstares, in Carstares's Papers, p. 160. 

2 Case of the Episcopal Clergy in Scotland. Somers's Tracts, vol. iii. 
coll. iv. pp. 135-37. 


Heved from subscribing the Oath of Assurance ; but the Privy 
Council, instead of granting their request, recommended his 
Majesty to insist upon every minister taking the oath before he 
took his seat in the Assembly. His Majesty accordingly in- 
structed his Commissioner, Lord Carmichael, to impose the 
oath, and if the ministers refused to take it, to dissolve the 

When Lord Carmichael arrived in Edinburgh, he found that 
the ministers were firm in their resolution not to comply. In 
fact, a new objection had been added to their old ones : it was 
Erastian in an earthly monarch to fence the door of the 
Assembly with such an oath. The Commissioner felt that, 
with men in such a mood, to dissolve the Assembly might be 
equally fatal to the Church and the king. He therefore 
despatched a messenger to London, representing the state of 
matters, and asking for instructions. At the same time, the 
ministers sent up a memorial to Carstares, begging his friendly 
offices in this critical posture of affairs. 

Carstares had been from home, and happened to return to 
Kensington on the evening of the very day on which the flying 
packet had arrived. But the king, under the advice of Lord 
Stair and Lord Tarbet, who represented the refusal of the 
clergy as rebellious, had already drawn up instructions to his 
Commissioner, making the Assurance imperative, and had 
delivered them to the messenger. Carstares read his letters ; 
and having learned the nature of the despatches the king had 
sent off, he saw that no time was to be lost, if the Church was 
to be saved. He managed to get hold of the messenger just 
as he was ready to start, and required him, in the king's 
name, to deliver his despatches to him. In possession of 
these, he went directly to the king's apartment. The lord-in- 
waiting told him that his Majesty was gone to bed ; but Car- 
stares said that he was come on business of the greatest 
moment, and must get admittance. On entering the room, he 
found his Majesty asleep. He drew aside the curtain, went 
down upon his knees at the bedside, and then wakened the 
king. Amazed to see his chaplain at such an hour and in such 
a posture, he asked what was the matter. " I am come," said 
Carstares, " to beg my life." " Is it possible," said William, 
" you have done anything deserving of death ? " Carstares told 
him he had detained the royal messenger, and produced the 
despatches he had taken from him. William was not a man 
easily to brook such an interference, and sharply asked Car- 
stares how he had dared to countermand his orders. Carstares 

a.d. 1694.] CARSTARES AND THE KING. 193 

begged to be heard in his defence. William listened atten- 
tively while he urged that the Episcopalians were already his 
enemies, that this oath would make the Presbyterians his 
enemies too \ that oaths were of little avail to a prince if he 
lost the hearts of his subjects; but that, if he yielded this to 
them, he would bind them for ever to his throne. The frown 
gradually left William's countenance as Carstares proceeded ; 
and in the end, he told him to throw the despatches into the 
fire, and write such instructions as he thought best, and that 
he would sign them. It was done, and the messenger was soon 
upon the road travelling post-haste to Edinburgh. 

Meanwhile, both the Commissioner and the ministers w r ere 
in the utmost perplexity. On the very next day the Assembly 
was to meet, and still the messenger had not returned. Lord 
Carmichael, by the instructions he had, was bound to dissolve 
the Assembly ; the ministers were determined to assert their 
authority, and meet notwithstanding. Both alike dreaded the 
result. Happily the messenger arrived on the morning of the 
eventful day, and, when his packet was opened, it was found, 
to the joy of all, that it was his Majesty's pleasure to dispense 
with the oaths. When the Assembly met, every minister was 
more hearty than another in praise of the king. 1 From that 
day to this there has been no collision between the Church and 
the sovereign in regard to the calling of Assemblies. The 
Moderator dissolves the Assembly as if all the power were 
w r ith him ; the Commissioner dissolves it as if all the power 
were with him. Either, in like manner, nominates a day 
for a new one. Thus the old question is still kept alive, 
but the perfect understanding and inviolate faith of both 
the parties have prevented it from assuming a troublesome 

The Assembly, on proceeding to business, showed its grati- 
tude to the king, by appointing a commission to receive the 
Episcopal ministers, who qualified themselves according to the 
terms of the recent act of parliament. It ordained the Low- 
land synods to furnish sixteen ministers, who should proceed 
to the north and labour for three months in the parishes 
which had been deprived of their Episcopal incumbents, and, 
at the end of the three months, to send sixteen others in their 
stead, and so on continuously till the Assembly again met. It 
arranged that presbyteries should send commissioners to the 

1 This interesting episode in the history of the Church is well told in 
M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, pp. 57-61. 



Assembly in proportion to their numerical strength, and thus 
the representative character of that high Court was perfected. 
Regulations were also made about appeals, translations, pro- 
bationers, forms of process, and modes of preaching. 1 Thus 
these fathers of the Revolution Church began to build up their 
broken walls. 


In traversing the period subsequent to the Revolution, we feel 
that we have no longer our old guides to conduct us on our 
way. John Knox and James Melville are no more. Calderwood 
has been forty years in his grave, and we have him no more 
to lead us, not only along the highroad, but into all the quiet 
bypaths of history. Baillie also is gone, and we miss his 
pleasant talk about the men and affairs of his time. Wodrow 
has indeed sprung up to supply their place. He was a boy of 
ten when William landed at Torbay ; but the history which he 
afterwards wrote goes back into the past, and stops when the 
Church was emancipated from her sufferings ; and his " Cor- 
respondence " gives us only some cursory glimpses of the 
period which followed. 

No chronicler arose to chronicle the Revolution in the 
Church. Nor did any leading Churchman arise to leave the 
impress of his mind upon the age. The history of Knox is 
the history of the Reformation. The influence of Melville is 
to be traced everywhere in the first struggle of Presbytery with 
Episcopacy. The period of the Covenant without Henderson 
is like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. But the 
Revolution has no such man, around whose name all the inci- 
dents of the period cluster. The Kennedies, Simsons, and 
Crichtons, who were raised to the Moderator's chair, are 
names unknown. William Cars tares, was undoubtedly the 
ablest Scotch minister of his time, but he was more a states- 
man than a Churchman. He rendered great services to the 
Church ; but he did it not from his influence with his fellow- 
ministers, but simply from his influence with the king. The 
Church was firmly founded before his voice was once heard in 
in any of its pulpits, or in any of its courts. 

In truth, the ecclesiastical Revolution was not fitted to 
bring out great talents. The Church was revolutionised from 
1 See Acts of the Assembly, 1694. 


without, not from within. The king and the parliament deter 
mined that it was to be Presbyterian, and not Episcopal \ they 
determined who were to exercise its government, and who 
were to occupy its pulpits. The pattern of the new tabernacle 
was prescribed in the parliament-house. When the Courts of 
the Church met, they had little to do but to walk in the foot- 
steps of those who had gone before them. There were no 
new truths to be published — no new polity to be built up. 
The ancient tracks and the ancient landmarks still remained. 

It is difficult to form a correct conception of the state of 
the Church in the period succeeding the Revolution. Epis- 
copacy was thrown down, but still it was not quite levelled 
with the ground. Some parts of the ruin remained almost 
entire. The bishops were no longer admitted to the parlia- 
ment or the Privy Council ; their factors no longer drew the 
Episcopal revenues ; their voice was no longer heard in the 
cathedral churches ; but most of them still lingered in the 
country, and received from the Episcopal clergy an homage, 
which, perhaps, was all the more sincere that it was given to 
misfortune. In secret they bestowed their apostolic benedic- 
tion, and still communicated by the imposition of their hands 
the apostolic gift. 

A multitude of the Episcopal ministers still occupied the 
parish manses, and preached in the parish pulpits. It was the 
earnest desire of the monarch that they should all acknowledge 
the Presbyterian discipline, and be received into the bosom of 
the Presbyterian Church. His tolerant principles led him to 
wish this. Policy dictated the same thing. If these men 
became the recipients of his bounty, they would become the 
supporters of his government \ if they were driven to dissent 
and reduced to starvation, they would continue to plot for the 
return of the Stewarts. The majority of the Episcopal clergy 
refused to take the Oath of Allegiance; some of them con- 
tinued to pray for King James ; the whole body were dis- 
affected 1 yet William winked at this, and importuned Assembly 
after Assembly to receive into the Church as many as made 
their submission. 

At first the commissions and presbyteries of the Church 
looked as if they were resolved to root out every Episcopal 
incumbent as a cumberer of the ground, and thus completely 
clear the field. But in time they grew weary of ecclesiastical 
slaughter, and showed a disposition to comply with the merci- 
ful intentions of the king. A considerable number of the 


Episcopal clergy were recognised by the Revolution Church. 
xVccording to act of parliament, those who took the oaths to 
government, signed the Confession of Faith according to a pre- 
scribed formula, and submitted to the Presbyterian polity, 
were not only protected in their livings, but admitted to the 
judicatories of the Church. Many who refused to do this 
were still allowed to continue in their manses and pulpits. 

The truth is, in some districts of the country it was no easy 
matter to dispossess the Episcopal incumbents. The people 
had become attached to them, and would not allow them to 
be turned out of their churches to make way for an intruder ; 
or powerful patrons threw over them the broad shield of their 
authority, and defied the presbyteries. There were cases of 
ministers who had been expelled from their churches return- 
ing ; and other cases in which serious riots took place when 
the presbyteries attempted to force Presbyterian pastors upon 
reluctant and reclaiming Episcopal congregations. The Assem- 
bly thought it right to represent these things to the govern- 
ment, and new acts of parliament were the result. 1 

Some districts of the country were almost entirely Presby- 
terian ; others almost entirely Episcopalian. In some places 
there was a division of sentiment, and in these not unfre- 
quently a compromise was made. Thus, in the Collegiate 
Church of Dunfermline, an Episcopal minister conducted the 
services during one part of the day, a Presbyterian during the 
other, and either had his own congregation. It was the same 
in the Collegiate Church of Haddington. In Muthill the 
Episcopal curate maintained his place for nearly twenty years 
after the Revolution ; and the first Presbyterian minister, who 
is reputed, according to the tradition of the country, to have 
been chosen as much for his physical strength as his spiritual 
graces, that so he might hold his own, was compelled for a 
time to preach in the churchyard, while the Episcopal divine 
occupied the church. 2 In other parishes, so strong was Epis- 
copacy that the Presbyterians were obliged to assemble in 
meeting-houses, and leave the Episcopalians in possession of 
the churches. At the time of the union, eighteen years after 
the Revolution, there were a hundred and sixty-five Episcopal 
ministers still within the pale of the Establishment, living in 

1 See Acts of Assembly, p. 243 — Act anent Intrusion upon Kirks. Also 
Acts of Parliament, Will. III., pari. i. sect. v. chapters xxii. and xxvii. 

2 The Minutes of the Presbytery of Auchterarder, Nov. 9, 1703, and 
Feb. 1, 1704. 

A.D. 1696.] HAVOC OF THE CHURCHES. 1 97 

the manses, preaching in the pulpits, and drawing the stipends. 1 
These, however, gradually died out, and men of the Presby- 
terian stamp were substituted in their stead. 

Notwithstanding the number of Episcopal ministers retained 
in the Church, there were large districts of the country left 
destitute of ordinances. The Presbyterian ranks had been 
sorely thinned by thirty years of persecution and death, and 
they could not all at once fill up the vacancies themselves had 
made. 2 This was particularly the case in the district to the 
north of the Tay, which was in danger of lapsing into heathen- 
ism ; and therefore the General Assembly saw the necessity of 
making great efforts to save it. Deputations of southern 
ministers were appointed to proceed to the north, and act the 
part of evangelists in those parishes which were either very 
Episcopal or very destitute. The southern brethren regarded 
this mission as we would now regard a mission to the back- 
woods of Canada. Some went cheerfully, others begged to be 
excused, and others said nothing but did not go. The Assem- 
bly was not slack in censuring the refractory. It went farther. 
It resolved that twenty-two ministers from the south should be 
permanently settled in the north, to illuminate its darkness. 
Eor twelve or fifteen years after the Revolution, a considerable 
part of every Assembly's time was occupied with such arrange- 
ments ; and it must be confessed, that if the Church was 
somewhat reckless in making vacancies, it was indefatigable 
in filling them up. 

The Assembly which met in the beginning of 1696 passed 
an act against the atheistical opinions of the Deists, 3 which 
received a melancholy comment in an occurrence which took 
place during the same year. A student of eighteen, named 
Thomas Aikenhead, had unfortunately imbibed sceptical 
opinions, and had been imprudent enough to spout them to 

1 De Foe's Memoirs of the Church of Scotland, p. 345. See also the 
Introduction to the Leven and Melville Papers. The General Assembly, 
in an address to Queen Anne, say generally, that they had assumed 
hundreds of the Episcopal clergy. See Acts of Assembly, 17 12. 

2 Skinner says, "That in the two Presbyteries of Haddington and 
Dunbar, where there are near thirty parishes, there were but two Presby- 
terian ministers, and the same number in Dunse and Chirnside, of the 
same extent. In the Presbytery of Auchterarder there were but one, and 
when the next Presbytery was added to it they made only three. At the 
same time two of their lay elders declared, in the face of the meeting, that 
for twenty miles west of Perth there were but two or three Presbyterian 
ministers to be met with." See Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. p. 558. 

3 Acts of Assembly, p. 253. 


some of his companions. Trinity in unity, he said, was a 
contradiction ; Moses had learned magic in Egypt, and this 
was the secret of his miracles ; Ezra was the author of the 
Pentateuch ; Theanthropos was as great an absurdity as Hirco- 
Cervus. These sceptical commonplaces reached the ears of 
the authorities, and the youth was indicted under an old 
statute, which made it a capital crime to curse the Supreme 
Being. He was convicted, and sentenced to be hanged. It 
was in vain that the poor lad, with death before his eyes, re- 
canted his errors, and begged for his life. Even a reprieve for 
a few days was denied him ; and the clergy of the city, for- 
getful that their Great Master was ever ready to pardon the 
penitent, gave their voice for his death. He died with the 
Bible in his hand, in token of his change of mind. 1 It is a 
painful incident in the history of intolerance, but it is the last 
of the kind which happened in our country. No man has 
since been called to die for his faith. 

In the autumn of the same year the parliament met, and, 
amongst many other acts, passed one for settling of schools. 
We have already traced so far the origin of our parochial 
school system. We have seen the " First Book"of Discipline " 
declaring that a school should be planted in every parish, 
and endowed out of the patrimony of the Church. We have 
seen the parliament in 1633 ordaining that the bishops should 
have the power to found a school in every parish where the 
consent of the heritors and parishioners could be obtained, and 
to lay an assessment upon land for the maintenance of the 
master. But as this act was not imperative, it was only partly 
operative, and there is reason to dread that education was too 
much neglected in the troublous times that followed. In 1646, 
while the civil war was raging, the parliament passed an act 
which anticipated the legislation of 1696 ; but it was repealed 
at the time of the Restoration. Scotland, even at the time 
of the Revolution, could not yet boast that every parish had a 
school. The parliament now gave to the country the school 
system which the Church, ever since the Reformation, had 
been aiming at, and which the country now enjoys. It made 
it imperative upon the heritors of every parish to found a 
school, and to provide a house and salary for the school- 
master. 2 The Assembly followed it up by an act enjoining 

1 Lord Macaulay's History, vol. vi. Burton's History. Letter by the 
Rev. R. Wyllie to the Laird of Wishaw, justifying the execution, 1 6th 
June 1697 — now in the Antiquarian Museum. 

2 Will. III. pari., i. sect. vi. chap. xxvi. 

A.D. 1697.] THE BARRIER ACT. 1 99 

presbyteries to see that the law was obeyed. The effect was 
soon seen in the wide diffusion of knowledge. The poorest 
peasant had it in his power to give a liberal education to his 
son, and men who had been trained in the parish school began 
to emerge from humble life, — whose proud destiny it was to 
enlarge the boundaries of science, to charm the world with the 
sweetness of their song, or to carry Scotch enterprise to every 
quarter of the globe. 

The Assembly which met in 1697 passed an act generally 
known as the Barrier Act — a wise piece of legislation, which 
has preserved its vitality to this day. It provides, that before 
any act be passed, which is to be binding upon the whole 
Church, it be first proposed to the Assembly as an overture, 
and, being approved by it, receive afterwards the sanction of 
a majority of the presbyteries. 1 Almost every legislative body 
is the better of a drag to prevent hasty legislation, and this is 
especially the case with a body so multitudinous, so fluctuat- 
ing, and so untrained to legislative duties as the General 
Assembly. But under the Barrier Act rash legislation is im- 
possible. Every overture must first be canvassed on the floor 
of the General Assembly. Being approved of there, it must 
be canvassed on the floor of every presbytery throughout the 
kingdom ; and only on receiving the approbation of a majority 
of these, and after the lapse of a year, can it become law. In 
some cases the Barrier Act may have rendered legislation un- 
necessarily slow, but upon the whole its operation has been 
beneficial. The acts of the Assembly are much more defen- 
sible than its decisions. 

It was at this period a proposal was made to remove the 
University of St Andrews to Perth. After the Reformation 
St Andrews had gradually declined, and from being one of the 
first towns in the kingdom, had sunk into a paltry fishing 
village. From the same cause, Glasgow, notwithstanding its 
greater commercialjadvantages, had for a little shown symptoms 
of decay, and it is curious to find the citizens of a city which 
owes so much of its present prosperity to the Reformation, 
shortly after that event, declaring that their trade was languish- 
ing and their finest buildings going to ruin because the town 
was no longer the resort of bishops, deans, and parsons. The 
Reformation, in fact, had caused such a change in all the 
Episcopal cities, as railways have caused in all the hostelries 
which lie along the old post-roads. A few parting rays of 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 260. 


Episcopal splendour were shed upon the venerable city of St 
Andrews during the reigns of Charles and James, but now the 
glory was for ever gone ; and the masters of the university 
resolved to strike their tent, and to pitch it elsewhere in 
greener pastures. But though many arguments were urged in 
favour of the university being removed from a town which was 
declared to have become a nasty village redolent of fish guts, 
and haunted by dysentery, to the fair city on the banks of the 
Tay, and though the help of influential statesmen were secured, 
the negotiations ended in nothing ; and Fife has retained to 
this day her ancient university." 1 

In perusing the legislation of the parliament 
which assembled in 1698, we stumble upon an 
act entitled, " An Act for preventing of Disorders in the 
Supplying and Planting of Vacant Churches." 2 It is some- 
times spoken of by the shorter and more significant name of 
the Rabbling Act. The truth must be told. The attempt 
to settle Presbyterian ministers in several districts of the 
country had caused serious riots. The Episcopalians rabbled 
the Presbyterians in the north as the Presbyterians had 
rabbled the Episcopalians in the south, and the legislature 
was compelled to interfere. The dominant Presbyters of 
course cried out loudly against the obstinacy of the Epis- 
copal ministers in clinging to their manses, and the ob- 
stinacy of the Episcopal people in clinging to their minis- 
ters ; but surely in this they were not more reasonable than 
the fish-woman who curses the eel for wriggling while she 
skins it. 

Though Presbyterianism had been established, it was not 
quite happy in its establishment. Many of the ministers were 
ill at ease in regard to the terms upon which they had been 
raised to place and power. Presbytery had been established 
simply as being agreeable to the inclinations of the people, 
not as possessing a Divine right. Such low ground was very 
offensive to the high notions which still lingered in many 
Presbyterian bosoms. This uneasiness was increased by the 

1 My knowledge of this matter has been derived from a MS. belonging 
to the Antiquarian Society of Perth, entitled, " Papers relative to a pro- 
jected Translation of the University of St Andrew to the town of Perth, 
in the years 1697 and 1698, copied from the Records of the University,'" 
4&c, under the inspection of John Lee, Rector, February 27, 1818. I be- 
lieve this MS. has been printed in the Transactions of the Perth Antiquarian 

2 Will. III., pari. i. sect. v. chap. xxii. 

a.D. 1698.] ERASTIANISM. 201 

disputes which had taken place with the king in regard to the 
meeting of Assemblies. William had adjourned one Assem- 
bly without naming a day for another; and he had, on several 
occasions, put off the day of meeting from time to time solely 
upon his own kingly authority. The ministers were annoyed 
and irritated by this; and we need not wonder that they were. 
Thus, in July 1695, the Assembly was to meet in Edinburgh. 
and already a considerable number of ministers had arrived 
in town, when an order came down from headquarters forbid- 
ding it to sit. The ministers who had come jogging upon 
their horses, over rough roads, from every corner of Scotland, 
were indignant at this treatment, and some of them talked of 
addressing his Majesty upon the ill-usage they had received ; 
but the majority resolved to content themselves with laying 
the grievance before the secretary, and urging that such a 
thing should not happen again. But it was not the long 
journey that pained them most ; it was the triumph which 
had been given to their adversaries ; it was the ground which 
had been given for the reproach of Erastianism. " It was a 
pity," wrote one of them to Carstares, " to see the ministers 
flocking in from all parts, and, in the meantime, their adver- 
saries flouting at them for having lost their labour ; and yet 
more pity to hear the poor ministers saying they durst not go 
home to their congregations, especially to the south-west parts, 
where Mr Hepburn will triumph over them for what he will call 
their unfaithfulness, and will be in a ready way to draw away 
people from hearing them." 1 

This sore place in the Established Church was kept from 
healing by the Cameronians, who published several Declara- 
tions, minutely setting forth the defections of the times, and 
pronouncing the Church to be thoroughly Erastian. Vexed 
by these reproaches, some of the ministers were anxious that 
the General Assembly should pass an act assertory of the 
Church's intrinsic powers, and that " its government did not 
rest upon so slippery a foundation as the inclinations of the 
people/' Others counselled that these things should merely 
be declared from the pulpit, and proved by texts from Scrip- 
ture. Carstares's opinion was asked ; but Carstares was too 
cautious a man to advise any such courses. 2 But it was 
expedient that the scruples of many should be quieted ; and, 
accordingly, the Commission of the Assembly in 1698 pub- 
lished " A Seasonable Admonition," in which they declared 
1 Carstares's State Papers, p. 255. 2 Ibid. pp. 364-66. 


— " We do believe and own that Jesus Christ is the only 
Head and King of His Church, and that He hath instituted 
in His Church officers and ordinances, order and government, 
and not left it to the will of man, magistrate, or Church to 
alter at their pleasure. And we believe that this government 
is neither Prelatical nor Congregational, but Presbyterian, 
which now, through the mercy of God, is established among 
us ; and we believe we have a better foundation for this our 
Church government than the inclinations of the people or the 
laws of men." 

Ever since the Reformation the Scotch mind, unoccupied 
otherwise, had been greatly occupied with religious con- 
troversies ; but it was now suddenly turned in a different 
direction. Golden dreams of commercial greatness and un- 
bounded wealth began to rise up before it. The excitement 
of the Covenant gave way to an excitement more intoxicating 
still; and the nation plunged into its first great mercantile 
undertaking with the same eagerness with which the inex- 
perienced traveller pursues the mirage of the desert. 

William Paterson, who is said by some to have led in his 
youth the roving life of a buccaneer, had thrown out some 
hints which led to the foundation of the Bank of England. 
Debarred by national jealousy from reaping the fruit of his 
grand idea, he now laid before his native country an idea 
grander still. A portion of the Isthmus of Darien was still un- 
appropriated by the Spaniards. Paterson had formed the plan 
of founding on either shore of it an emporium for the mer- 
chandise of the Eastern and Western Worlds. He conceived 
that a link might thus be formed to connect the trade of 
Europe and Asia ; and that both the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans might be ploughed by vessels from every quarter of 
the globe, directing their prows to the narrow neck of land 
which divided them, and enriching the Scotch colonists, who. 
by occupying the Isthmus, would hold in their hands the keys 
of the world. 

The Scottish Parliament passed an act establishing a trading 
company to Africa and the Indies, with very plenary powers, 
and the king gave it his consent. But as soon as it became 
known what the exact project of this company was, the 
jealousy of the English and Dutch merchants and the hos- 
tility of the Spanish government were aroused, and threatened 
to ruin it before it was organized. Nothing, however, could 
damp the ardour of the Scots, panting for wealth. Four 

A.D. 1698-1700.] THE DARIEN EXPEDITION. 203 

hundred thousand pounds were subscribed. Five large frigates 
were purchased, and freighted with a rich cargo of merchandise, 
besides twelve hundred emigrants to form the new colony. 
The Church sent four ministers, one of whom was Alexander 
Shields, to keep alive amongst them the religion of their 
fatherland. 1 The voyage was prosperous ; the emigrants dis- 
embarked ; a fort and a town were built ; and for a few 
months all went well. But in a little, the effects of a noxious 
climate began to be felt ; the new colonists were attacked by 
the Spaniards ; they were left to perish by the English ; pro- 
clamations were published at Jamaica, Barbadoes, and the 
other American plantations, forbidding any one to stretch out 
to them a helping hand ; and after a hopeless struggle against 
such adverse circumstances, they were compelled to abandon 
the colony in despair. Of the many hundreds who set out 
upon that expedition, so full of high hope, very few revisited 
their native land. 2 

The country was now plunged in distress. Many families 
were utterly ruined, for they had embarked their all : many 
others had lost what was dearer to them than gold — a hus- 
band, a brother, a son. The Assembly in 1700, and again in 
1 701, proclaimed a fast, with a special reference to the calamity 
which had befallen the country in the failure of the enter- 
prise. 3 The parliament passed a series of acts condemnatory 
of the treatment the colony had received at the hands of the 
English government ; and the strongest animosity was felt 
toward the king, who was thought to have sacrificed his Scotch 
to [his English and Dutch subjects, and to the continental 
policy he was then so intently pursuing, which led him to pro- 
pitiate Spain. 

It was the first of the many bubbles our country has seen ; 
the first great mercantile enterprise in which it engaged ; and 
the first severe lesson in mercantile disaster it received. Yet 
the project was a magnificent one. Alexander the Great had 

1 The Assembly of 1700 directed a pastoral letter to Alexander Shields, 
Francis Boreland, Archibald Stobo, and Alexander Dalgliesh— the minis- 
ters who had sailed with the first Darien expedition; and instructed its 
commission " to supply with good and able ministers the ships and colonies 
of the African and Indian Company, as they should be applied to by the 
court of directors from time to time. " See Acts of Assembly, pp. 

2 Collection of State Tracts, published during the reign of William III. 
— A Defence of the Scots Settlement at Darien, vol. ii. Laing's His- 
tory, &c. 

Acts of Assembly, pp. 290-305. 


reared in Egypt an emporium for the trade of Europe and the 
East, and it had flourished mightily ; but Alexandria was not 
better placed for the commerce of the old world than Darien 
for the commerce of a world enlarged by the discoveries of 
Columbus. Egypt is at this hour the connecting link between 
England and India ■ and the day does not seem far distant 
when a large proportion of the traffic of the world will be borne 
across the Isthmus of Panama. 

While the success of the Darien expedition was yet doubt- 
ful, Fletcher of Saltoun published a book, in which he calcu- 
lated that there were two hundred thousand beggars strolling 
about the country ; and, notwithstanding his republican poli- 
tics, seriously proposed domestic servitude as a remedy for this 
wide-spread pauperism. 1 By the failure of the enterprise, 
Scotland seemed to be doomed to continue in this state of 
poverty for ever, with no sources of wealth beyond her own 
sterile hills. But though her first effort to reap in foreign 
fields was calamitous, the vision of commercial prosperity was 
never afterwards allowed to fade from her view ; and the result is 
now to be seen in the crowd of masts which tower in the docks 
of Greenock, and along the far-stretching wharfs of the Broomie- 
law. The rise of the mercantile spirit was the decline of the 
polemical. Men had now something else to think of than 
Covenants and Testimonies. During the eighteenth century, 
the Church occupies a much less important place in history 
than it had done during the seventeenth. But it would be 
wrong to infer from this that religion had decayed ; for her 
proper abode is the heart and the homestead, the closet and 
the sanctuary, and not the high places of the field. 

Although controversy had raged in the Scottish Church 
ever since the days of Knox and Melville, it had seldom turned 
upon matters of faith. The ecclesiastical mind was so 
thoroughly absorbed with points of discipline as to have no 
space for points of doctrine. The throne of Calvin was so 
firmly fixed that few ventured to shake it. This has been 
true of Scotland almost down to the present day. The Church 
has been torn into shreds by dissent ; but every great dissent 
has originated in disputes about its government, and not its 
doctrines. There have been small schisms upon matters of 
faith, but they have uniformly died out, showing that they were 

1 Fletcher's estimate must be grossly exaggerated, as the whole popula- 
tion of the country at this period was less than a million; but still there 
can be no doubt of the wide-spread pauperism that prevailed. 


not native to the soil, while the others have taken root and 
flourished vigorously. Scotland has ever been sternly ortho- 
dox 1 and, with many sects, it has but one creed. The eigh- 
teenth century, however, opened upon a heresy which threatened 
to trouble the Church. 

Every minister of the Church, before being ordained, is re- 
quired to disown all Popish, Arian, Socinian, Arminian, and 
Bourignian errors. In the first four of these heresies every one 
is perfectly instructed ; but we do no great wrong to our 
ministers by supposing that many of them have solemnly re- 
nounced Bourignianism without exactly knowing what Bourig- 
nianism is. 

M. Antonia Bourignion was born at Lisle during the latter 
half of the seventeenth century, and educated in the faith of 
the Roman Church. In 1696, laying claim to inspiration, she 
published a book full of extravagant and mystical notions. 
She denied the need of a priesthood — the need of sacraments. 
In some respects she approximated closely to the Quakers and 
Quietists, but she held some notions which they would repu- 
diate. Her heresy began to spread in the Low Countries, and 
her book was translated into English. Dr Garden, one of the 
ministers of Aberdeen, was captivated by what he conceived 
to be its loving and catholic spirit, and published " An Apology 
for M. Antonia Bourignion." For this he w r as cited before the 
Assembly of 1701. He did not compear \ but he had already, 
without acknowledging himself to be the author of the Apology, 
confessed before the commission his conviction that the writ- 
ings of Antonia Bourignion contained the essence of the 
Christian religion \ that they inculcated a Christian temper 
with more force than any writings of the age ; that they 
tended to unite Christians in their differences, and to promote 
the gospel of Jesus Christ ; and that her peculiar sentiments 
ought not to be accounted heresies, as they contradicted no 
one article of the Christian faith. He had, moreover, declared, 
that he counted himself honoured in being singled out for own- 
ing such principles. 

The General Assembly, however, found that the writings 
of Bourignion denied the divine permission of sin, and the 
infliction of damnation for it ; that they ascribed a twofold 
human nature to Christ ; that they repudiated the decrees of 
election and reprobation ; that they taught there was an evil 
spirit in the souls of men before they were born ; that their 
will was unlimited ; that there was in them something that was 


infinite, by which they would be united to God ; that the 
Divine prescience was not complete; that Christ's human nature 
was corrupt ; that there was perfection in this world, a state of 
purification in the world to come, and generation in heaven. 
The writings of this female fanatic were accordingly con- 
demned, and her disciple, Dr George Garden, was deposed. 1 
The heresy spread amongst a few, and lingered for some years 
in the country ; but it is long ago dead and forgotten. 

The life of King William was now drawing to a close. He 
had been delicate from the cradle. When a young man he 
had had a severe attack of small-pox, which had left their pits 
upon his face, and their debilitating effects in his constitution. 
He was asthmatic, had a dry quick cough, and could not sub- 
sist in the close atmosphere of St James's. Yet he had out- 
lived many who had much fairer prospects of long life. Eight 
years ago he had laid his queen in the grave — the good, the 
gentle, the loving Mary. She was but thirty-two when she 
died. His father-in-law, though well up in years, was strong 
and robust. Since his flight from the country he had solaced 
himself with a devotion almost monastic, which had made even 
his co-religionists laugh at him, as a man who had thrown 
away three kingdoms for a mass. But amidst his austerities 
and prayers, he had been looking forward to the day when the 
death of his sickly son-in-law would re-open a way for him to 
the throne. But the weakly son-in-law survived the vigorous 
father-in-law. In the year 1701 King James had died. 

Toward the end of February 1702, William had a fall from 
his horse, by which his collar-bone was broken. The bone 
was set, and at first he did not seem to have suffered from the 
accident ; but a few days afterwards he fell into an aguish 
fever. His difficulty of breathing increased, his pulse rapidly 
sunk, and on the 8th of March he expired. 

The General Assembly was sitting while the king was dying. 
They had already drawn up their answer to his usual letter, 
when news of his serious illness reached Edinburgh. A new 
clause was added. " But while we are despatching this return," 
said the assembled divines, " we have the surprising and most 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 306-8. The only work of Antonia Bourignion 
which I have been able to consult is entitled — * ' The Renovation of the 
Gospel Spirit, in three parts, showing the Universal Apostacy of Mankind 
from the Spirit and Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, with the sure and in- 
fallible means of retrieving it. Done out of the French. To which is 
prefixed a Preface to the English Reader." Published at London in 

A.D. 1/02.] KING WILLIAM. 207 

affecting news of your Majesty's dangerous condition, by reason 
of sickness, which not only prevents the design we had of an 
humble address of duty and affection to your Majesty, but 
obliges us to betake ourselves wholly to most earnest supplica- 
tion to God for your Majesty's preservation." 1 This was 
dated on the i ith of March — three days after His Majesty had 

King William is described as having a slender and awkward 
figure ; but his brow was large, his nose was aquiline, his eyes 
were piercing, and there was not only a seriousness, but a so- 
lemnity in the expression of his face. He had great qualities — 
coolness in danger, intrepidity in battle, comprehensiveness of 
view in Council. He had a power of forming coalitions out of 
the most hostile elements which has never been surpassed, 
and which placed him, even when but Stadtholder of Holland, 
at the head of Protestant Europe. Private friends he had 
few, but those he had were deeply attached to him ; and love 
to be deep must be mutual. He has been blamed for violat- 
ing, and teaching his wife to violate, the sanctities of filial 
affection ; but most people will agree that the interests of a 
great nation were before the claims of one tyrannical old man. 
It is certain that neither William nor Mary sought the life of 
James ; they merely wished to take from his hand a sceptre 
which both his religious faith and his political principles un- 
fitted him to wield. 

Whatever may be thought of William's motives, it is certain 
he was the saviour of the country. But though this was 
generally acknowledged, he never became a favourite with the 
people. He was a foreigner. He was phlegmatic and 
studiously silent. It was evident he took no pains to in- 
gratiate himself with any one. He was seldom seen, and when 
he gave an audience he had scarcely a word to say. The 
nobles remembered the gracious manners of Charles, and for- 
got his profligacy; the Scotch Presbyterians, for a time at 
least, were so annoyed that William would not allow them to 
persecute the Prelatists, that they ceased to remember how, 
till he came, the Prelatists had been hounded on to persecute 
them. Posterity is more just. William's dry manners are not 
thought to detract seriously from his great virtues ; and the 
tolerance he preached to the Scotch Church in letters, and 
imposed upon it by acts of parliament, now shines as one of 
the brightest jewels in his crown. 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 314. 


The Assembly of 1702 was brought to a close by the king's 
death ; but a few days afterwards the commission forwarded 
an address to Queen Anne, upon her accession to the throne. 
They tendered to her Majesty their hearty thanks for the 
assurance she had given the Privy Council that she would 
preserve the laws, liberties, and religion of the kingdom ; and 
they declared in return that they acknowledged her Majesty's 
most just title to the crown, and would maintain the same to 
the utmost of their power against all pretenders. 1 

Queen Anne was firmly attached to the Church of England ; 
she had not the stoical indifference to forms of Church govern- 
ment which had distinguished William, and the Scotch Epis- 
copalians began to entertain hopes that she might be inclined 
to favour them. Toward the end of the year they approached 
her by petition. They begged that they might be admitted to 
benefices where a majority of the heritors and inhabitants 
were of the Episcopal persuasion, and remarked, that the 
Presbyterians could not object to this proposal, for if they had 
such a plurality of the people as they pretended, their benefices 
were in no hazard. 2 No attention appears to have been paid 
to this petition, and next year they petitioned again in more 
piteous terms, not asking specially to be admitted to benefices, 
but that the queen, in her matchless clemency, would com- 
passionate their starving condition. " In truth and gratitude," 
said they, " we are obliged to acknowledge, that many of us 
in a great measure owe our lives to the charity and beneficence 
of such of your Majesty's good subjects as thought it a disgrace 
to Christianity that a society of men consecrated to the altar, 
in the service of Christ, should perish in a Christian kingdom 
for want of bread." 3 The queen kindly assured them of her 
protection, said she would relieve their necessities as far as she 
could, and recommended them to live in peace and Christian 
love with the Presbyterian clergy. 

The parliament generally dies with the monarch ; but in 
consequence of the troubled state of the country, arising from 
the disputed succession, it had been resolved that the parlia- 
ment which was in being at William's death should continue 
in existence for six months afterwards. Accordingly, the 
Estates assembled at Edinburgh, on the 9th of June. But 
some entertained grave objections to its proceeding to business. 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 315, 316. 

3 Stephen's Ecclesiastical History, vol. iii. p. 641. Skinner's History. 

3 Skinner's History, vol. ii. p. 601. Stephen's History, vol. iii. p. 643. 


It had originally met as a Convention ; it had been metamor- 
phosed into a parliament ; it had lasted during the whole 
preceding reign ; and now that Anne was quietly settled on the 
throne, there was no good reason why its existence should be 
protracted — it should die in peace. The Duke of Hamilton 
laid before the Estates a paper in which these and other 
reasons were stated against their continuance; but the 
majority, tenacious of their parliamentary life, resolved to 
proceed to business. The Duke of Hamilton and seventy-four 
followers seceded. The Duke of Queensberry, supported by 
a hundred and twelve members, continued to sit. They voted 
themselves a free and legal parliament, passed an act recog- 
nising the queen's authority, and another securing the Presby- 
terian government of the Church in stronger terms than 
hitherto. They declared it to be agreeable to the Word of 
God, and the only government of Christ's Church within the 
kingdom. Burnet says, that when they were proceeding to 
ratify all the former acts in favour of Presbyterian govern- 
ment, Sir Alexander Bruce moved that these should be read, 
peradventure some of them might be found inconsistent with 
monarchy, and that for this he was expelled the House. 1 

ad i703 ^ n t ^ ie Iot ^ °^ M arcn I 7°3 tne General As- 

sembly met, and the Earl of Seafield, Lord High 
Chancellor of the Kingdom, as Royal Commissioner, pre- 
sented a letter from the queen, in which she said — " We 
renew the assurance given by us for protection of the Presby- 
terian government, as that which we find acceptable to the 
inclinations of our people, and established by the laws of the 
kingdom. We are confident that you will act in this Assembly 
so as we shall have new reasons to be satisfied with you and 
your conduct ; and that you will carry so with others of the 
reformed Protestant religion, albeit differing from you in forms 
of Church polity, that by your meekness and charity they may 
be the more inclined to live peaceably and dutifully under us, 
and in brotherly love and respect toward you and the Estab- 
lished Church." The Assembly replied in courteous terms, 
but with a slight demur at the royal sentiments. They after- 
wards voted an address, in which they spoke out more plainly. 
They informed her Majesty that Presbytery was agreeable to 
the Word of God and the only government of Christ's Church 
in the kingdom, and they complained that the Episcopal 
ministers transgressed the law of the land by preaching, by 
1 Burnet's History, vol. iii. p. 353. 


despising sentences of deprivation, by thrusting themselves 
upon churches where there were ministers, by intruding into 
others where there were none, by baptizing and marrying in a 
clandestine way. 1 In short, the Episcopalians were doing 
precisely what the Presbyterians had ventured to do when 
they were a persecuted remnant. Then the Episcopalians 
complained of the Presbyterians ; now the Presbyterians com- 
plained of the Episcopalians. The Assembly was about to 
proceed farther, gathering courage from success. They had 
prepared the draft of an act for asserting the supremacy of 
Christ, the intrinsic power of the Church, and the divine right 
of Presbytery, when the Commissioner interfered, and abruptly 
dissolved them. 2 

The country was now agitated with the elections for the 
new parliament; and notwithstanding the exertions of the 
Presbyterians, a considerable number of Jacobites were re- 
turned. It met on the sixth of May. The Duke of Queens- 
berry, one of the most consummate politicians of the time, 
appeared as her Majesty's representative, and seeing a strong 
body of Jacobites arrayed against the government, he strove 
to strengthen his party by conciliating the Presbyterians. All 
the laws in favour of Presbytery were ratified ; and more, it 
was declared treason to utter a syllable against the Claim of 
Right. 3 The Earl of Strathmore brought in a bill for the 
toleration of all Dissenters in the exercise of their religious 
worship. The commission of the Church met it by a remon- 
strance, in which they argued that there was no need of a 
toleration, as the Episcopalians had few scruples of conscience 
touching communion with the Established Church \ that dif- 
ference of opinion about Church government was not suffi- 
cient reason for division in worship, and that the toleration of 
Episcopacy would endanger the establishment of Presbytery. 4 
In consequence of this remonstrance the bill was thrown out. 

The Church now began to open its eyes to a fact which had 
escaped its observation during the conflicts of the last century. 
There were considerable districts of the country upon which the 
Reformation had never dawned. There were glens in the High- 
lands where Popish and even Pagan rites were still practised : 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 316, 317, 321. 

2 Testimony of the United Associate Synod, p. 39. Willison's Testi- 
mony, p. 31. Stephen's History, vol. iii. p. 646. 

3 Anne, pari. i. sect. 1. chapters ii. iii. 

* Stephen's History, vol. iii. pp. 649, 650. 


there were isles amid the Hebrides which had never been 
trodden by a Protestant missionary. The Assembly addressed 
itself to the subject with praiseworthy alacrity. It passed acts 
for the distribution among the Gaels of Gaelic Bibles, Gaelic 
Psalm-Books, Gaelic catechisms. It passed acts to promote the 
establishment of libraries and schools in Highland districts. 
It held out large encouragement to young men having the 
Gaelic tongue to study for the ministry. It sent deputations 
to visit the most benighted districts. It ordered presbyteries 
to make returns of all the Papists living within their bounds. 

In consequence of this, reports were sent in from a con- 
siderable number of presbyteries, which bring out the fact, 
that while in some districts of the country Popery had been 
clean blotted out, in others, more remote from central influ- 
ences, it remained almost entire. In the county of Selkirk 
there was not one Papist. In Athole there was only one, 
and he a blind fiddler. But in South Uist and Barra, out of 
fifteen hundred examinable persons, only seventeen were 
Protestants. In the islands of Canna, Rum, and Muck, out 
of five hundred examinable persons, only about forty were 
Protestants. In Knoydart and Morar, out of seven hundred, 
all were Roman Catholics but four. In Arisaig, Moydart, 
and Glengarry, there was a population of fifteen hundred, 
and all were Papists but one man. In these districts there 
was no distinction between Saturday and Sunday ; the thick 
darkness of a state not much above heathenism was un- 
broken. 1 

These facts made every lover of his country bestir himself. 
In 1707 the Society for the Propagation of Christian Know- 
ledge began to take form under the fostering care of the 
Church. Two years later it was established by the queen's 
letters patent. In 17 12 it reported to the Assembly that it 
had collected £4400 sterling, and was ready to establish 
eleven schools. 2 In 17 19 it reported that its funds had 
swollen to ^7000, and that it was in a position to maintain 
forty-two schools. 3 Six years afterwards George I. signified 
his intention of giving ^1000 annually to maintain preachers 
and catechists in the destitute districts of the Highlands and 
Islands ; and this Royal Bounty has been continued by all 
his successors on the throne. 

Still these efforts were not quite successful in rooting out 

1 Maitland, Miscellany, vol. iv. 2 Act of Assembly, p. 463. 

:; Ibid. p. 527. 


Romanism. In 1720 the Presbytery of Lorn represented to 
the General Assembly that three populous districts in Ard- 
namurchan had never been reformed from Popery ; that the 
number of examinable persons was seven hundred ; and that 
only one family was Protestant. In 1722 it was reported 
that in Kilmonivaig a hundred and fifty persons had recently 
apostatized to Popery ; and that in Glengarry, a pendicle of 
that parish, where there were five hundred souls, the Refor- 
mation had never taken place at all. At the same time the 
Presbytery of Dunkeld represented that Kenmore, with a 
population of six thousand, had never had a Presbyterian 
minister since the Revolution — a period of thirty-four years ; 
and, stranger still, that in the whole tract stretching from 
Dull to Inverary, there was not one Presbyterian minister to 
be found. 1 

The preachers, catechists, and schoolmasters toiled on, 
but the evil was not much abated. Roman Catholicism con- 
tinued to linger in its old haunts. 2 Protestantism made some 
progress, but it was very slow. If we take up a modern 
almanac, we shall find that Roman priests are still labouring 
among the mists of Uist, Barra, Arisaig, Glengarry, Knoy- 
dart, Morar, and Moydart, and administering the mass to a 
people who have inherited the faith with the blood of those 
who lived there a hundred and fifty years ago. 

We have here presented the problem which has puzzled 
philosophers, and of which no perfect solution has yet been 
found — How should the Reformed religion have at first ad- 
vanced from victory to victory till the half of Christendom was 
at its feet? and how should it since have lost its power? 
Between 1520 and 1570, Protestantism wrested the half of 
Europe from Rome; between 1570 and the present time it 
has scarcely achieved a single conquest. The boundary-line 
between the Roman and the Protestant States at the close of 
the sixteenth century is the boundary-line still. In Scotland, 
some secluded glens and sea-girt islands were overlooked when 
the work of reformation was going on, and the efforts of five 
generations have been unable to atone for the neglect. Had 
some follower of Knox visited them when the land was full of 
the ferment of the Reformation, and told them how their 
fellow-countrymen were everywhere throwing their idols to the 
moles and the bats, there is every likelihood that they would 
have caught the infection and done the same. But when the 

1 Maitland, Miscellany, vol. iv. - See Original Statistical Account. 


tide was flowing it did not reach them ; and when all others 
were borne along with it, they were left high and dry upon the 
beach. In the midst of Protestantism they remained Catholic 
— hereditary representatives of the ancient faith of their 
country — like mediaeval tenements in the midst of a modern 
city, bringing back the memory of a bygone order of things. 

The Treaty of Union with England was now the great sub- 
ject of anxiety in the country. The parliament which as- 
sembled in 1705 had empowered the queen to nominate com- 
missioners to meet with the commissioners of the English 
parliament, and treat regarding this great subject. As religion 
was one of the principal causes of uneasiness, they were spe- 
cially prohibited from giving their consent to any alteration in 
the worship or discipline of the Established Church. 1 The 
commissioners of the two kingdoms shortly afterwards met at 
the Cockpit, and proceeded to discuss the articles of the 

A complete union between the nations separated by the 
Tweed was no new thing. Edward I. had carried fire and 
sword into Scotland to effect it. It was the manner in which 
unions were managed in his time. Henry VIII. first nego- 
tiated for a marriage between his infant son Edward and the 
infant Mary, who wore the northern crown while yet in her 
cradle ; and when negotiations failed, he resorted to arms. 
James VI. no sooner ascended the English throne than he 
set his heart upon a union of the kingdoms. He assumed to 
himself the title of King of Great Britain. He declared that 
England and Scotland were names of hostility, and ought to 
be abolished. His son Charles I. inherited his opinions. 
The Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, effected with a strong 
hand what many sovereigns had been unable to accom- 
plish. During his reign Scotland and England were one 
nation, with one parliament ; and thcugh the Scotch pride 
had been wounded, a prosperity unknown before had helped 
to sooth it. But when Cromwell died, his policy died 
with him. All these efforts to knit the two nations into 
one had failed ; but at length the fulness of the time was 

Notwithstanding the many obvious reasons for an incorpo- 
rating union of the two nations, the popular feeling of Scot- 
land was strongly opposed to it. The people thought it was 
a surrender of their national independence — a giving up volun 
1 Anne, par 1 , i. sect. iii. chap. iv. 


tarily of what their fathers had held dearer than life. The 
Presbyterians dreaded the result upon their Church. They 
remembered the trials it had come through. They knew the 
influence of the Episcopal dignitaries, and dreaded that Pres- 
bytery would be endangered by a parliament in which so many 
prelates had a seat. Some of them called to mind the Covenant 
they had sworn to extirpate Prelacy from both England and Ire- 
land ; and how could they now tolerate its mitred representatives 
in the legislature of the united kingdoms ? So strong were these 
feelings, that while the Treaty was depending, numerous ad- 
dresses from counties, burghs, and presbyteries were presented 
against • it \ the members of parliament who were known to 
favour it were insulted by the mob in the streets of the metro- 
polis ; the Cameronians in the south, and some of the clans 
in the north, began to muster under experienced captains, and 
a renewal of convulsions was anticipated. 1 

It was well that the Church at this period was guided by the 
counsels of a man so influential and so cautious as Carstares. 
After the death of his great patron King William, he had 
accepted the office of Principal of the University of Edinburgh, 
and soon acquired in the Ecclesiastical Courts the ascendency 
to which his position, his abilities, and his services were so 
well entitled. 2 It was felt that, if the Church put forth her 
strength to oppose the Union, it must necessarily miscarry. 
Carstares exerted all his influence to prevent this, and succeed- 
ed. A few presbyteries voted addresses couched in language 
very offensive to the government ; but the commission, which 
had received special instructions to watch over the safety of 
the Church, instead of presuming to dictate to the parliament, 
contented itself with presenting a respectful address, begging 
its attention to the interests of the Established Church. 3 

The commissioners for negotiating the Treaty had had 
many difficulties to contend with, besides those which resulted 
from the pride and the prejudices of the two kingdoms. 
Taxes were to be equalised — the number of representatives 

1 Somerville's History of the Reign of Queen Anne, pp. 207-32. Laing's 
History of Scotland, vol. ii. 

2 The Earl of Seafield, in writing to Mr Carstares about this period, 
says — " My Lord Portland gave me the honour of a visit this day, and is 
very well. He asked kindly about you ; I told him you governed the 
Church, the university, and all your old friends here. That you lived with 
great satisfaction, and was as much his servant as ever." (M'Cormick's 
Life of Carstares, p. 74.) 

3 Somerville's Llistory, p. 226. 

A.D. 1706.] ARTICLES OF UNION. 215 

from either country who were to sit in the imperial parliament 
was to be fixed — many other delicate details were to be 
arranged ; but at last they brought their labours to a close. 
Nothing now remained but to get the sanction of the two par- 

On the 3d of October 1706, the Scotch parliament met. 
When it was resolved to proceed with the consideration of the 
Treaty, the most intense anxiety prevailed in the city. Crowds 
prowled about the streets, besieged the Parliament house, 
poured out their abuse upon the representative of Majesty, and 
conducted the orators who spoke against the Union in 
triumph to their lodgings. Such was the threatening aspect of 
affairs that the Commissioner and Chancellor had some 
thoughts of adjourning the parliament, but Lord Stair and 
Lord Godolphin urged them not to yield to such weakness. 1 

The Articles of Union agreed upon by the commissioners 
made no mention of religion. It was a thing too delicate to 
be handled by them. But now the parliament passed an act 
for securing the Protestant religion and Presbyterian Church 
government. By this act it was ordained, that the government 
of the Church by kirk-sessions, presbyteries, synods, and 
General Assemblies should continue unalterable, and be the 
only government of the Church within the kingdom of Scot- 
land. It was provided that this act should be inserted in the 
Treaty of Union, and form an essential condition of it. 2 

It was known that a similar security was to be given for 
the continuance of the English Church within England, and 
the Scottish parliament, in their ratification of the Articles of 
Union, inserted a clause giving their consent to this ; but the 
commission of the Assembly, learning what was done, and re- 
garding it as a sinful compliance, petitioned that no pledge 
should be given for the establishment of a hierarchy and cere- 
monies which would involve the nation in guilt. It was an 
ebullition of the old Covenanting spirit. 3 

At length, after long and vehement debates, the Articles of 
Union were agreed upon. It was said that dexterous manage- 
ment and English gold greatly helped the conclusion, but 
surely we must also attribute it to patriotic feelings, and a 
sagacity which was able to forecast the future. The Treaty 
was next carried up to London, to be laid before the English 
houses of parliament. There an act was inserted for the 

Laing's History, vol. ii. - Anne, pari. i. sect. iv. chap. vi. 

3 De Foe's History of the Union, p. 480. See also Appendix, p. 625. 


security of the English Church, very similar to that for the 
security of the Scottish Church. In the Commons almost no 
opposition was made to the bill ; but in the Lords, four of the 
bishops took exception at the Scottish Act of Security. Upon 
this Archbishop Denison, the English Primate, surnamed 
the Old Rock, stood up and said, " That he had no scruple 
in approving of it within the bounds of Scotland ; that he 
thought the narrow notions of all Churches had been their 
ruin i and that he believed the Church of Scotland to be as 
true a Protestant Church as the Church of England, though it 
was not so perfect." It was well and charitably spoken ; and 
several bishops followed in the same strain. 1 

When the Articles of Union had been agreed to by the Eng- 
lish legislature, their exemplification, as it was called, was 
conveyed back to Scotland, and recorded by the parliament 
on the 25th of March 1707. This done, the Scottish parlia- 
ment adjourned to the 2 2d of April, but in reality to meet no 
more. When the Chancellor, Lord Seafield, declared the ad- 
journment, he is reported to have said in jest, " There is an 
end of an old song." But the people were in no jesting mood, 
and believed that the glory of their country was departed 
for ever. 


The General Assembly was now the only legislative body in 
Scotland, but it did not gain in strength by being left alone. 
It was like a parasitic plant deprived of the props which gave 
it support. A great deal of its power resulted from the in- 
fluence which it could bring to bear upon the Privy Council 
and the parliament ; but the Privy Council was now abolished, 
and the parliament was merged in the parliament of Great 
Britain, whose legislative functions were carried on in a region 
far remote from Scotch ecclesiastical influence. 

In the month of April 1707, after the Union had been 
agreed to by both the Scotch and the English parliaments, but 
before it had yet come into operation, the General Assembly 
met. In none of its printed acts is there any specific mention 
of the great event which was upon the eve of being consum- 
1 Carstares's State Papers, pp. 759, 760. 

A. D. 1707-8.] THREATENED INVASION. 2 I 7 

mated; but the proceedings of the commission, which had 
been vigilant in watching the course of affairs, were approved 
of. Progress was also made in building up the constitution 
of the Church. "A Form of Process in the Judicatories of 
the Church, in Relation to Scandals and Censures/' was passed 
into law. It is divided into nine chapters ; it minutely de- 
tails the modes of procedure to be used by the Church Courts 
in dealing with delinquents, and is in force at the present 
day, 1 though often more honoured in the breach than the 
observance. The queen had appointed the ist of May to be 
observed throughout England as a day of thanksgiving to 
Almighty God for the Union so happily brought about, and 
was anxious that it should be kept throughout the whole 
island. But she knew that the Church of Scotland was very 
jealous of royal interference in such matters, and that the 
people of Scotland were in no humour to give thanks for 
what they considered a curse rather than a blessing. She 
therefore wisely left Scotland to determine for itself what was 
to be done. 2 The General Assembly did nothing, but its pro- 
cedure had been calm and temperate, and of this statesmen 
were aware. 3 

In the spring of 1708, the country was alarmed by the 
prospect of a French invasion for the purpose of restoring the 
Stewart dynasty. A considerable fleet was collected at Dun- 
kirk, and it was not concealed that Scotland was its destination. 
On the 12th of March, it appeared off the town of Montrose; 
and after some communication with the shore, put about, and 
stood away for the Frith of Forth. Sir George Byng, the 
English admiral, instantly put out to sea in pursuit, and the 
French consulted their safety by returning whence they came, 
without even attempting a landing. While the alarm lasted, 
the Presbyterians showed themselves actively loyal. They 
proclaimed a fast ; they prepared for defence ; and if they 
increased their severities against the Episcopalian clergy, it is not 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 404-16. 

- " Her Majesty considered the ill impressions that were made of an 
union of the two kingdoms, by the enemies of both, upon many people 
there, and some of the clergy ; therefore only commanded me to let her 
desire (of having a general thanksgiving through the whole island) be 
known, and left it entirely to her servants there to consider of the reason- 
ableness of declaring it ; and though she still wishes it could have been, 
yet her Majesty is far from proposing, much less ordering, what may 
ofTend." (Sir David Nairn to Mr Carstares.) State Papers, p. 761. 

:i Carstares's State Papers, p. 762. 


to be wondered at, for the Episcopalian clergy were more than 
suspected of having instigated the invasion. 

On the 1 7th of April, immediately after the dread of the 
invasion had passed away, the General Assembly met. The 
Earl of Glasgow occupied the throne as her Majesty's repre- 
sentative, and Principal Carstares was for the second time 
elevated to the Moderator's chair. The queen, in her letter, 
assured her " Right Reverend and Well-Beloved " of the satis- 
faction with which she had beheld their zeal and affection on 
the appearance of the invasion; and they in return assured her 
Majesty, with more than usual emphasis, that " they had an 
equal detestation of the counsels of Versailles and pretensions 
of St Germains." 1 

Acts of Assembly, as well as acts of parliament, are fre- 
quently highly illustrative of the periods to which they belong. 
It is so with several acts of Assembly about the time at which 
we have now arrived. There is one " concerning people's 
behaviour in time of divine worship." 2 There was something 
hopeful in this, as Presbytery, aiming at a purely spiritual 
worship, had been prone to pour too much contempt upon all 
outward forms and bodily postures. The act enjoins persons 
of all ranks " to forbear bowing and other expressions of civil 
respect, and entertaining one another with discourses, while 
divine worship was performing." From such things being 
forbidden we may infer they were practised. There had been 
no need of such a prohibitory law had there been no such 
unseemly customs. Bishop Sage declares that the Presby- 
terians would have considered it superstitious to uncover their 
head when they entered the church. " Mass John himself," 
says the sarcastic prelate, " doth it as mannerly as the coarsest 
cobbler in the parish. In he steps, and uncovers not till in 
the pulpit. All the congregation must sit close in the time of 
prayer, clap on their bonnets in the time of sermon." 3 This, 
though bitterly said, was but too true ; and, even in our own 
day, there are those who recollect practices in some rural 
churches more indecorous still. But it was not mere unman- 
nerliness. It was a silent protest against what the Quakers 
call the hat-worship of stone and wood. 

There was another act akin to that to which we have re- 
ferred. It embodied a recommendation to presbyteries to 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 423. 2 Ibid. p. 432, year 1709. 

3 Fundamental Charter of Presbytery, p. 362. I have omitted one of 
the bishop's strokes of humour as somewhat coarse. 

A D. 1708.] PENNY WEDDINGS. 219 

have such schoolmasters everywhere chosen as were capable 
of teaching the common psalm-tunes, that thus the praises of 
God might be more decently sung in the sanctuary. 1 Where- 
ever the Church of Rome reared her altars, music grew up 
under her shadow, and gave a new charm to her sensuous 
services. But Presbytery gave little countenance to such a 
handmaid. Her strength lay in preaching ; and though the 
songs of Israel were sung in her tents, she thought it did not 
matter in what tones they were sung, provided they were sung 
from the heart. This act was indicative of a reviving love 
for sacred music ; but for more than a century longer the 
national psalmody was barbarous. 2 A revival has now begun. 
But we now turn to an act of a different kind. It is against 
penny-weddings. " Penny-weddings," says Pardovan, learnedly, 
"are neither by our civil nor ecclesiastical constitutions ab- 
solutely discharged, for that were to deprive the poorer sort 
of the satisfaction of meeting with their friends on that occa- 
sion. But our Assembly, considering that many persons do 
invite to these penny-weddings excessive numbers, among 
whom there frequently falls out drunkenness and uncleanness, 
for preventing thereof" have passed certain acts. 3 So far back 
as 1645, the Assembly passed an act for restraining abuses at 
such gatherings; in 1701 they repeated it ; and in 1706 they 
enjoined all presbyteries to apply to the magistrates to execute 
the laws against transgressors. 4 Laws there were, written on 
the statute-book of the land, which bore directly on the 
subject. In the reign of Charles II., a monarch from whom 
we should scarcely have expected such virtuous legislation, an 
act had been framed restricting marriage-parties to the persons 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 483, year 171 3. 

2 There is also an act of this period relative to a metrical version of the 
scriptural songs which was in contemplation. See Acts of Assemblv, p. 


3 Collections and Observations, &c, book Hi, title xii. 

4 See Acts of Assembly at dates referred to. The Act of 1701 is as 
follows: — "The General Assembly did, and hereby do, revive the act of 
the General Assembly of 1645 against Likewakes; as also the act of the 
said Assembly for restraining abuses at Penny-Bridals; and likewise the 
act of the General Assembly, 1649, discharging promiscuous dancing; and 
appoints the said acts to be read in churches before the congregation ; and 
that synods inquire at presbyteries concerning their diligence anent their 
observation of the said acts ; and recommends to presbyteries to have their 
thoughts upon what farther may be necessary for suppressing and prevent- 
ing abuses at such occasions, and give their opinion thereanent to the next 
Assembly." (P. 311.) 


to be married, their parents, brothers, sisters, and besides these 
not more than four on either side. 1 How or when penny- 
bridals originated it were hard to say \ but it is certain that, 
in despite of both parliament and Assembly, they exist in some 
remote districts of the country to the present day. When a 
cotter's daughter is about to become a wife, every neighbour 
lad and lass are made welcome to the wedding who will con- 
tribute a penny to pay for the fiddler ; but friendly hands bring 
something more, to help the garnishing of the young couple's 
house, and the evening is spent in vigorous dancing and 
boisterous fun, and amid these delicacy and decency are 
sometimes forgotten. Wilkie has portrayed the scene on his 
graphic canvas, so lifelike, so Scotch-like, that the memory of 
such weddings must be immortal ; but the sooner that they 
themselves are discontinued the better. 

There is yet another act to which we wish to refer. It is 
entitled "An Act Concerning the Better Attendance of 
Members on the General Assembly." 2 It alludes to the fact 
that some presbyteries did not send their full number of repre- 
sentatives, and that many who were deputed by presbyteries 
never made their appearance in the Assembly-house. We 
shall not wonder at this, when we consider the hardships of 
travelling then, and know that many remote presbyteries find 
a difficulty in getting members to proceed to the Assembly 
still. Anciently every proprietor in Scotland, who held his 
land directly of the crown, had a seat in the parliament as a 
baron. But many of these barons were but paltry lairds, who 
counted the expense of travelling to Edinburgh and attending 
on the parliament as greater than the honour it conferred, and 
who were probably employed cutting their corn when they 
should have been legislating for their country ; and so their 
right gradually fell into disuse. The same causes operated 
with country ministers far removed from the metropolis, and 
little ambitious of distinguishing themselves on the floor of the 
Assembly. Even during the ferment of the Covenant, an act 
required to be passed enforcing attendance. As might be 
expected, such legislation was still more necessary in times of 
quietude, when there was no strong excitement to draw a man 
from his peaceful home, and tempt him to undertake an 
arduous journey. Edinburgh was then farther from Aberdeen 
than London is now. The ministers in general required to 

1 Charles II., pari. iii. chap. xiv. 

2 Acts of Assembly, p. 404. 

a.d. 1708-9.] THE ENGLISH LITURGY. 22 1 

get into the saddle, and jog along wearily till the lantern of St 
Gile's came in view. When the distance was not very great, 
the horse or horses were sent back ; and in Wodrow's letters 
from the Assembly to his wife, we have many minute directions 
about the despatch of the manservant and the horses to bear 
him home again. 1 When the distance was long, the steed of 
course required to be stabled in the city, and there are still 
traditions in the Church of simple men from the north finding 
to their horror, at the close of their legislative labours, that the 
hostler's bill amounted to more than the worth of their nag. 
But the Assembly was relentless, and ordained that absentees 
should be censured for the first fault by their presbytery, for 
the second by their synod, and that for the third they should 
be suspended. 

We have already remarked that, since the disastrous 23d 
of July 1637, the Episcopalians in Scotland had used no 
liturgy. The experiment was too dangerous to be repeated 
in the Established Church. But dissent allows a greater 
latitude than is to be found within a Church fenced about 
by the law. What men may not impose upon others they 
may do themselves. It was therefore resolved by some of 
the Scotch Episcopalians to introduce the English liturgy in 
their service. The kingdoms were now united. The Epis- 
copal Church in the south had always sympathised with her 
Episcopal sister in the north, and had frequently stretched 
out to her a helping hand. Moreover, there were many 
Englishmen now living in Scotland who hungered and 
thirsted after the ritual to which they had been accustomed 
from their infancy, and who complained that even when they 

1 On the 6th of May 17 10, Wodrow adds the following postscript to his 
letter from the Assembly : — "Let Johnny, if he bring the black horse, 
bring a wallet with him, and light at William Ker's, in the head of the 
Grassmarket, on the side next to the Castle, and call forme at Mr Stewart's, 
the Regent's, just at Bristoe Port, or in the Parliament Close, the first 
door as he goes down the Mealmarket Steps, at Mrs Watson's, or at the 
Assembly-house." (Correspondence, vol. i. p. 149.) 

On the 13th of May 17 12 he writes — " You may order Johnny to come 
in (if this reach you upon Wednesday night) with the horses upon Thurs- 
day. If it reach you not till Thursday, he may come off part of the road, 
and stay by the way all night, and come in on Friday morning. It will be 
Friday afternoon at soonest before I can come off, and it is uncertain if I 
get off then. I will do my best to be home this week ; but do not peremp- 
torily expect me, for I cannot be positive if I get home. Let a horse be 
sent in for Mr Robison on Saturday. Let Johnny bring the wallet and Mr 
Guthrie's Life. . . . Let Johnny bring in both the horses with him. I 
know nothing but he will come home with me." (Vol. i. pp. 296, 297.) 


went to the Episcopal churches seeking for bread, they 
received only a stone. They could no longer join in those 
litanies which stirred so deeply their devotional feelings, 
nor say " Amen " to prayers which appeared to them the 
most perfect utterance of Christian piety. The Rev. James 
Greenshields was the first to hazard reading the Anglican 
liturgy in public. 

This James Greenshields was the son of one of the curates 
who had been rabbled at the Revolution. He had received 
orders from the Bishop of Ross after his deprivation, and, 
rinding little encouragement for men of his calling at home, 
he passed over into Ireland, and for thirteen years officiated 
as a curate at Tynam, in the diocese of Armagh. In the 
beginning of 1709 he revisited his native country, and 
accepted an invitation to open a place of worship in Edin- 
burgh, in which the service of the Church of England should 
be observed. He first opened his church in the Canongate, 
but he was dislodged by the bailies. He next rented a house 
at the Cross, but a complaint to the Dean of Guild compelled 
him to vacate it too. Not to be beat, he hired a third house, 
and proceeded with his service. The Presbytery now took 
up the matter, and summoned him to their bar. He 
appeared, produced evidence of his ordination and good 
character, pleaded that he violated no law, and protested 
that he was not subject to the censure of any ecclesiastical 
court in North Britain. The Presbytery found that he had 
exercised the ministry within their bounds without their 
license, contrary to the purity and uniformity established by 
law, and that he had been guilty of high contempt in declin- 
ing their jurisdiction. They therefore prohibited him from 
longer exercising his ministerial functions. The execution of 
this sentence was remitted to the magistrates, who called Green- 
shields before them ; and as he refused to cease from exercis- 
ing his office, he was sent to jail. 

Greenshields now presented a bill of suspension to the 
Court of Session, pleading that neither the Presbytery nor the 
magistrates had any grounds in law for what they had done. 
The lords, after hearing the case, refused the bill on the 
ground that being ordained by an exauctorated or deprived 
bishop, he had no true ordination. One of the judges argued, 
"that an exauctorated bishop had no more power to ordain 
than a ballad-cryer on the streets ; " and another, improving 
on the illustration, said, that " such a bishop had no more 


power to give ordination than a cashiered colonel or captain of 
horse had to give commissions to subalterns." 1 

This was awkward ground even for the Presbyterians. The 
bishops had been deprived by act of parliament ; they had 
never been deposed by any ecclesiastical court. Could the 
legislature divest them of their spiritual powers ? The Epis- 
copalians were not slow to thrust the argument home. The 
ministerial function, said they, flows from Jesus Christ, the 
Head of His Church, and has been often exercised not only 
independent of the civil power, but in defiance of it. The 
apostles preached after they were prohibited by the Jewish 
Sanhedrim. "We ought to obey God," said St Peter, "rather 
than men." St Athanasius and many other Catholic bishops 
were exauctorated by the Roman emperors during the Arian 
persecution, yet they continued in the discharge of their epis- 
copal office, and the Universal Church approves of what they 
did. The Presbyterians themselves, when exauctorated in 
1660, continued to preach, to administer the sacraments, to 
ordain; were their successors now prepared to admit that what 
they then did was invalid, because it had not the sanction or 
the law ? Confident in the strength of these arguments, and 
also confident that the Act of Uniformity applied only to those 
within the Established Church, Greenshields appealed to the 
House of Lords. 2 

Though Greenshields was still lying in the common jail, 
his inflexible spirit emboldened others to do as he had done. 
This was especially the case in the north-eastern counties, 
where Episcopalians were numerous. Some went still farther. 
When a brother died, the clergy put on their vestments, 
formed in procession, and read the Office for the Dead at the 
grave. When they were summoned before the presbyteries 
they declined their jurisdiction. One man, notwithstanding 
his deposition, mounted the pulpit of Brechin, surrounded by a 
ring of stout country gentlemen, and when the Presbyterian 
minister appeared he was mobbed by boys, pelted with stones, 
and glad to make off." 

1 Very similar ground to this was recently taken by Lord Brougham in 
a discussion about the Scotch Episcopal bishops in the House of Lords, 
for which he was sharply taken to task by the Bishop of F v ~ter. The 
argument is good legally, but it is bad ecclesiastically. 

2 For a full account of this interesting case see " The True State of the 
Case of the Rev. Mr Greenshields, now Prisoner in the Tolbooth of Edin- 
burgh," &c., printed at London in 17 10. See also Somerville's History, 
p. 469 ; Stephen's History, vol. iv. ; Carstares's Papers, &c. 

VYodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 79, 80. 


Such scenes as these irritated the dominant Presbyterians. 
They thundered against the Anglican Church in the pulpit ; 
they laid their complaints before the Lord Advocate ; they 
endeavoured even to put a stop to the reading of the English 
liturgy by English chaplains to English regiments which were 
stationed in Scotland. The officers, disgusted at this intoler- 
ance, justly complained that they had not the liberty of wor- 
ship in this Presbyterian country which was allowed them in 
the most bigoted Roman Catholic ones. 1 

All this, of course, reached the ears of the statesmen who 
haunted the ancient halls of Westminster, and those who 
wished well to the Scottish Church were annoyed and per- 
plexed. The General Assembly's commission had, in the 
month of August, followed up the proceedings of the Pres- 
bytery of Edinburgh, by passing a stringent act discharging the 
use of set forms, rites, and ceremonies not prescribed by holy 
writ, and " obtesting all in the bowels of the Lord Jesus 
Christ to avoid and discountenance all innovations in the wor- 
ship of God." This act was disapproved of in high quarters ; 
and the Presbyterian ministers were advised, through Car- 
stares, that the safest plan was to let the Liturgists alone, as in 
all probability they and their practices would soon die out. 2 
But party-spirit ran high, and Carstares, not always able to 
moderate the zeal of his friends, was heard frequently to com- 
plain that his situation was peculiarly hard, being forced first 
to bear the ill-will of his brethren for opposing their violent 
proceedings, and then to justify those very measures to the 
administration which he had disapproved of, and in vain 
attempted to frustrate. 3 

The embarrassment of the government was 

a.d. 17 10. st ^ further increased by the stir made at this 
time by Dr Sacheverel. This High Church divine had 
preached two sermons — one at the Derby Assize, and another 
before the Lord Mayor of London, on the anniversary of the 
Gunpowder Plot — and had afterwards published them. In the 
month of January following he was impeached before the 
Lords for teaching in these sermons that the Revolution had 
been effected by unjustifiable means ; that the toleration of 
Dissenters was unreasonable ; and that her Majesty's present 

1 Letter of an English officer at Edinburgh to a friend in London. (Car- 
stares's State Papers, pp. 783, 784. ) 

2 Carstare's State Papers, p. 773. 

:i M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, p. 79. 


Administration imperilled both the Church and the State. 
After a tedious trial and vehement debates he was found 
guilty. He was forbidden to preach for three years, and his 
sermons were condemned to be burned by the hangman. But 
the result of the trial was regarded by the High Church party 
as a triumph rather than a defeat, and their favourite divine 
was more than compensated for the ignominy done to his dis- 
courses and the silence imposed upon himself, by receiving 
ovations wherever he went. Within a few weeks afterwards 
the Whigs were dismissed from office, and the Tories came into 

All this had so occupied the House of Lords 

A D I7II . 

that the case of Greenshields had not yet been 
heard ; but the time was not lost, for the turn affairs had taken 
was greatly in his favour. If even Whigs and Low Churchmen 
had felt that they could not decently ask the British parliament 
to condemn the use of the English liturgy by a body of Dis- 
senters north of the Tweed ; much less could it be hoped that 
Tories, High Churchmen, and concealed Jacobites would do it. 
But Tories, as well as Whigs, were anxious to avoid a trial 
altogether if possible, for they knew that whichever way the 
decision went, great offence would be given, and probably 
public discontent created. Mr Harley, afterwards Earl of 
Oxford, now at the head of affairs, took Lockhart of Carn- 
wath, one of the ablest and busiest of the Scotch Episcopalians, 
into the Speaker's chamber, and urged upon him not to press 
the appeal, as the Church of England would be indignant if 
Greenshields were not protected, and the Church of Scotland 
if he were. Lockhart, however, stood firm to the purpose of 
his party to have the question tried, remarking, that he had no 
great reason to love the Presbyterians, as they had frequently, 
from their pulpits, consigned him to the gallows and the devil. 1 
In the month of April 171 1, the appeal was heard, the decision 
of the Court of Session reversed, and the magistrates of Edin- 
burgh found liable in costs. It was a most righteous judgment ; 
but it gave deep offence to the great body of the Presbyterians, 
who could not brook within the bounds of Scotland any form 
of worship but their own. 

While these controversies between the Presbyterians and 
Prelatists were raging in the courts of the Church and the 
courts of law, authors were dipping their pens in wormwood, 
and writing pamphlets, dialogues, and treatises on the questions 

1 Lockhart's Papers, vol. i. p. 347. 


in debate. Robert Calder, a rabbled curate, had published his 
severe satire on Presbytery — " Presbyterian Eloquence Dis- 
played." Sage, who had been one of the Episcopal ministers 
of Glasgow before the Revolution, and who was subsequently 
made a bishop, published first his " Principles of the Cyprianic 
Age," and afterwards his " Fundamental Charter of Presby- 
tery." In this latter work he discussed the article in the 
Claim of Right which asserts that the Church of Scotland had 
been reformed"/rom Popery by Presbytery, and that the supe- 
riority of any office in the Church above Presbytery had 
always been a grievance to the nation, and was contrary to the 
inclinations of the people. He minutely traces the history of 
the Church ; labours to show that the superintendents in the 
days of Knox were no other than bishops with a new name ; 
that Melville was the father of Presbytery; that a majority of 
the people at the time of the Revolution were attached to 
Episcopacy ; and that the modern Presbyterians had swerved 
widelygfrom the faith and worship of their reforming fore 
fathers. The book exhibits much reading, and is written with 
vigour ; but it is deeply dyed in party asperity, and is not free 
from unfairness in its statement of facts. 

John Anderson, first minister of Dumbarton, and afterwards 
of the Ramshorn Church, Glasgow, came forth as the champion 
of Presbytery. About 1710 he published "A Dialogue be- 
tween a Curate and a Countryman," and a year afterwards, 
" TheJSecond Dialogue between the Curate and the Country- 
man concerning the English Service. " He next ventured on 
a more ambitious I work, " The Countryman's letter to the 
Curate, wherein, besides an historical view of the English 
liturgy, the assertions of Sage, the author of the ' Fundamental 
Charter of Presbytery/ concerning its universal usage in 
Scotland at the time^of the Reformation, are examined, and 
proved to be false." This letter is the clever production of a 
somewhat violent polemic'; but, in regard to the use of the 
Anglican liturgy in Scotland at the time of the Reformation, 
modern research j has shown that Sage was right, and that 
Anderson was wrong. Calder, the author of " Scotch Presby- 
terian Eloquence Displayed," hazarded a reply, in which he 
indecently reproached'] Anderson with being a " dominie/ 
But Anderson was a match even for Calder in coarse invective ; 
and in a pamphlet entitled " Curate Calder Whipt," he re- 
turned railing for railing with usury. It was not till 17 14 that 
Anderson published his ablest and most elaborate work — his 

A.D. 1711.] INTRUSION. 227 

" Defence of the Church Government, Faith, Worship, and 
Spirit of the Presbyterians," designed as an answer to Rhynd's 
Apology for leaving the Presbyterian Communion. 1 

The General Assembly was still diligently pursuing its task 
of supplying the north with Presbyterian ministers. But the 
north was not always sensible of the boon that was designed 
to be conferred upon it ; and many riots took place in conse- 
quence of the attempt to thrust Presbyterian pastors upon 
Episcopal congregations. Several of these were reported to 
the Assembly which met in 171 1. The minister of Gairloch, 
when on his way to preach in a neighbouring parish, was 
met on the confines by a company of armed men, carried off, 
and thrust into a shed among cattle, where he was kept for 
four days, and very sparely fed. At the end of that time it 
was supposed his Presbyterian ardour was abated ; and he 
was brought before Sir John M'Kenzie of Coul, who informed 
him that no Presbyterian minister should be placed in any 
parish where he had influence, unless it were done by the 
queen's forces. With this intimation he was dismissed. 2 

At Old Deer the presbytery assembled to induct a Mr Gor- 
don. This gentleman was the son of the Provost of Aberdeen, 
and was accompanied by about forty of his friends, some of 
whom were provided with firearms. The town was in a state 
of intense excitement on account of the violence to be done 
to its religion, and a crowd besieged the door of the house 
where the presbytery were to meet. When a justice of the 
peace attempted to make a way for the presbytery and pre- 
sentee, stones were thrown from the roofs and windows of the 
adjacent houses. Upon this the Aberdonians, zealous for their 
provost's son, fired upon the mob, and wounded some of them. 
" Unless there had been a seasonable interposition," says 
Wodrow, " there would have been bloody work ; but the 
presbytery retired." But though the inhabitants of Old Deer 
had a temporary triumph, the strong arm of the law after- 

1 I have derived these notices of Anderson chiefly from a sketch of 
him given by the Editor of the Wodrow Correspondence (Dr M'Crie) in 
vol. i. 

2 YVodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. p. 216. "When they (the Assem- 
bly) came to the article anent the planting of vacant churches," says 
Wodrow, "they tell the queen that they are labouring to do it, but 
meet with very inhuman treatment in some places from those that are dis- 
affected to the present Establishment. The occasion of this is a great 
many lamentable representations from the north, and particularly one from 
Ross." Then the historian goes on to tell the story we have given in the 

228 church History of Scotland. [chap, xxiii. 

wards compelled them to receive Mr Gordon peaceably, to 
pay the expense of the process which had been raised before 
the court, to cause the principal rioters to appear as penitents 
before the congregation, and to give security for the good 
behaviour of the rest. 1 

At Aberlemno the triumph of Episcopacy was more peace- 
ful and more legitimate. A Presbyterian minister had la- 
boured there for two years, and not a single creature could be 
induced to come and hear him preach. Every man, woman, 
and child in the parish adhered to the Episcopal curate, who 
was a man of talents and influence. The Presbyterian begged 
the Assembly that he might be removed to another parish. 2 

As the Church was plagued by Episcopalians in the north, 
so was she by Cameronians in the south. She literally held 
the middle between the two extremes. Mr M'Millan had been 
minister of Balmaghie, and, having been deposed for his ex- 
travagances, was now the high-priest of the Society people, 
who began to be called by his name. A Mr M'Gie was 
settled in his place ; but M'Millan remained in the parish, 
and, meeting with M'Gie at a funeral, he struck him, and was 
instantly joined by some women, who shouted, " Kill the 
dog," and threatened the life of the new incumbent. 3 All this 
was duly reported to the Assembly, which was greatly per- 
plexed as to how it should deal with such assailants. 

The Episcopalians resolved to follow up the victory which 
they had obtained by the decision of the House of Lords in 
the case of Greenshields. They determined to ask the British 
parliament to grant them a full toleration for the practice of 
their religion. Everything boded success. The Tories were 
in power. A bad impression had been made upon the Eng- 
lish mind, by reports which had been spread far and wide 
regarding the intolerance of the Presbyterians, — how English- 
men resident in the north could not have the Common 
Prayers read to them, — how they could not even get their 
children baptized without going to a Presbyterian minister, and 
subscribing the Confession of Faith. 4 Dissenters were toler- 

1 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 218 and 226. Also Analecta, 
vol. ii. p. 187. 

2 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. p. 223. 

3 Ibid. pp. 219 and 222. 

4 In a letter from the Assembly, addressed to his wife, Wodrow says, 
" And since there are complaints come in from the English officers, that 
they cannot get their children baptized privately, nor without owning our 
Confession of Faith and Catechism, which they know not, and that re- 

A. D. 1712.1 THE TOLERATION ACT. 229 

ated in England ; was it not fair that Dissenters should be 
tolerated in Scotland too ? Was there any [reason why Pres- 
bytery should be more imperious in its mood than Prelacy ? 
The English members of the legislature very naturally sym- 
pathized with their fellow-religionists beyond the Tweed, and 
the Scottish Jacobites fomented the feeling. In November 
17 1 1, Lockhart of Carnwath published a letter which was 
designed to pave the way for a toleration. 

On the 21st of January 1712, a bill was 
a.u. 1712. "brought into the House of Commons "to pre- 
vent the disturbance of the Episcopal communion in Scotland 
in the exercise of their religious worship ; and for repealing an 
act of the Scottish Parliament, entitled an Act against irregular 
Baptisms and Marriages." The commission of the Church had 
taken alarm, and despatched Principal Carstares, Professor 
Blackwell, and Mr Baillie, minister of Inverness, to London, 
to oppose the bill by every means in their power. 1 They did 
what they could. They presented a petition against it ; they 
declared it was contrary to the Articles of Union ; they 
brought all the influence they possessed to bear upon the 
members of both Houses; but the tide was running too strong 
to be stemmed back. The bill was discussed with some 
animosity \ it underwent several alterations ; but it was finally 
passed by an overwhelming majority in both branches of the 

The act proceeds upon the preamble that those of the 
Episcopal persuasion had been frequently disturbed in their 

presentations anent this are come from court, there is a general overture 
recommended to a committee of five or six, to be brought in, recommend- 
ing all proper gaining methods to be used to persons of another education 
and communion in admitting to baptism and Church privileges, as said, 
otherwise they will bring their own ministers down." (Correspondence, 
vol. i. p. 227.) 

In 1711 the Assembly passed an " Act concerning the Receiving of 
Strangers into Church Communion, and Baptizing their Children," which 
was dictated by a liberal spirit. Ministers were enjoined to show all tender- 
ness to strangers who wished to be admitted to sealing ordinances, "and 
if such strangers, being free from scandal, and professing their faith in 
Christ and obedience to Him, shall desire baptism to their children, 
ministers shall cheerfully comply with their desire, in administering the 
sacrament of baptism to their children, upon the parents engaging to 
educate them in the fear of God, and knowledge of the principles of the 
Reformed Protestant religion." (Acts of Assembly, p. 457.) 

1 The Letters of Professor Blackwell, while in London, are published in 
the Miscellany of the Spalding Club (vol. i.), and give us some interesting 
details of the manner in which he and his coadjutors managed their mission. 


religious assemblies, and their ministers prosecuted for reading 
the English Service and administering the sacraments accord- 
ing to the manner prescribed in the liturgy of the Church of 
England. It declares that it should be lawful for them hence- 
forward to meet and worship in their own manner, provided 
that their pastors were ordained by Protestant bishops, that 
they took the Oaths of Allegiance and Abjuration, and that 
their assemblies were not held with closed doors. It repeals 
the act against irregular baptisms and marriages — a cruel law, 
which subjected the Episcopal priest who baptised a child or 
married a couple to perpetual imprisonment or exile. 

The bill, when first introduced, did not require the Epis- 
copalian ministers to take the Abjuration Oath, but the Pres- 
byterians managed to get a clause to that effect introduced in 
the Lords, hoping by that means to render the act nugatory, 
as it was known that the Episcopalians, upon no consideration, 
would abjure the exiled dynasty. But the Jacobites were a 
match for the Presbyterians in intrigue, and argued that if such 
an oath were made imperative upon the Episcopalians who 
were merely tolerated, much more should it be made impera- 
tive upon the Presbyterians who were established. The argu- 
ment was specious and prevailed, and the clause was made to 
apply to Presbyterians and Episcopalians alike. 1 But when 
the Jacobites used the argument, they knew that many of the 
Presbyterians would refuse to take the oath, because they 
thought that it sanctioned Episcopacy, and required that the 
reigning monarch should be of the Episcopal communion. 
The Presbyterians fell into the pit themselves had dug. The 
oath could not be decently pressed upon the one without being 
also pressed upon the other, and it became a source of bitter 
contention in the Established Church, as we shall afterwards 

There was another clause in the bill which caused consider- 
able discussion. It exempted all from the jurisdiction of the 
Church judicatories, saving the Presbyterians. At a meeting 
with some members of parliament, Carstares objected to this 
clause, as it would weaken Church censures. Lockhart bluntly 
told him that he believed his secret reason for objecting to 
the clause was, that people when subjected to Presbyterian 
discipline would flee to the Episcopalians for shelter; but still, 
that he so far agreed with him. The clause was altered. 2 

1 Burnet's History of his own Times, vol. iv. 

2 See Lockhart, Papers, vol. i. p. 379. 


But even as it now stands in the act, it shears the Church of 
her ancient strength. It provides that no civil pain should 
follow excommunication. The days when excommunication 
was equal to outlawry, and when the Church could call in the 
magistrate to enfore its decrees, however tyrannical or unjust, 
were for ever gone. Even the highest spiritual censures were 
limited to their effect upon the soul of the culprit. It might 
cut the contumacious man, or the drunkard, or the fornicator, 
or the heretic, from the body of the faithful, but it could do 
no more. The thunderbolt was wrenched from the Moderator's 
hand; the power of the sword was for ever separated from the 
power of the keys. 1 The civil courts, however, still give effect 
to the competent sentences of the ecclesiastical courts, both 
established and dissenting. If the presbytery depose a minister, 
the sheriff will thrust him out of his church and living, but the 
law will do as much to protect the privileges of any other 

The Toleration Act was only a measure of justice, but the 
Presbyterians regarded it as an undermining of the Established 
Church, as a licensing of schism, heresy, and sedition. Even 
good and moderate men grudged the Episcopalians the liberty 
of religious worship which was awarded them. It is certain 
the Scottish parliament could not have passed such a law. It 
was one of the benefits of the Union that legislation was now 
carried on in a serene region, far elevated above the storms 
which raged in the political and ecclesiastical atmosphere of 
Scotland. Men did not see that then, but we see it now. 
Narrow notions of Church polity and religious liberty had long 
reigned in the north ; it was well they were now forcibly 
widened by an influence from the south. The sister Churches 
of Great Britain have on more occasions than one rendered 
such service the one to the other. Toleration w T as now for 
the first time established in our country by law. Cromwell 
had previously preached it with a drawn sword in his hand. 

But unfortunately the parliament did not rest satisfied with 
the Toleration Act ; it proceeded to pass an act for restoring 
patronage. As patronage has been the source of almost all 
the disputes, heart-burnings, and divisions which have torn the 
Church from that day almost down to this, we shall shortly 
trace its history down to 17 12. 

1 In the reign of William III. an act had been passed depriving excom- 
munication of its civil effects. See Acts of Scottish Parliament, William 
and Mary, pari, i, chap, xxviii. 


Patronage arose in very early times, and from very obvious 
causes. A pious man founded a church, and naturally assumed 
the right of choosing the minister. It would appear that at an 
early period patrons even claimed the right of giving collation, 
but the Roman Decretals forbade this as an usurpation of 
ecclesiastical power. 1 But as it was essential to the well-being 
of Christendom that churches should be built and endowed, 
landholders were encouraged to this pious work by many in- 
ducements. They were not only allowed to present to the 
living, but they had a conspicuous seat set apart for them in 
the church, and a burial-place beneath its pavement ; their 
names and arms were sculptured upon the walls and over the 
doors, upon the bells, chalices, and other sacred utensils ; 
they were specially mentioned in the public prayers, and had 
a place assigned them in all solemn processions. 2 They had 
still more substantial privileges. When the benefice was 
vacant they enjoyed its fruits, and had even the power at all 
times of appropriating these as they pleased. 

When the rage to found and endow monasteries was epi- 
demic, many patrons bestowed their parishes upon Religious 
Houses, generally upon condition that a specified number of 
masses should be annually said for their souls, and the souls 
of their wives, their parents, their children, and their friends. 
Others gave their parishes to enrich a bishopric, which was 
perhaps at the time held by a relative. To such an extent 
was this system carried, that at the time of the Reformation, 
out of the thousand parishes of Scotland, about seven hundred 
had been thus appropriated. The bishop or the abbot who 
now held the parish drew the tithes, and appointed a stipen- 
diary vicar to serve the cure. These churches were called 
patrimonial; those held by parsons appointed by patrons were 
called patronate. 

After the Reformation it was declared in the " First Book 
of Discipline " that " it appertained unto the people and to 
every several congregation to elect their minister." 3 This 
form of polity, however, was never sanctioned by law, and the 
parliament which met in 1567, under the Regency of Moray, 
declared that while the examination and admission of ministers 

1 Connel's Treatise on Tithes, vol. i. p. 18. Forbes's Treatise of Church 
Lands, &c., p. 43. 2 Forbes, p. 40. 

3 First Book of Discipline, chap. iv. sect. ii. The Second Book of 
Discipline leaves the election of ministers " to the judgment of the elder- 
ship and the consent of the congregation." 


belonged to the Church, " the presentation of laic patronages 
was reserved to the just and ancient patrons." If the super- 
intendent refused to induct the presentee, the patron might 
appeal to the General Assembly, and its decision was final. 1 

After its first struggle with Episcopacy, Presbytery was re- 
established in 1592. The famous act passed in that year, 
placing the government of the Church in kirk-sessions, 
presbyteries, synods, and General Assemblies, provided that 
presbyteries should "be bound to receive and admit whatever 
qualified minister was presented by his Majesty or laic patrons." 2 
In 1596 the second struggle with Episcopacy began, and by 
16 1 2 Episcopacy was victorious. By acts of Assembly and 
acts of parliament, patrons were now instructed to direct their 
presentations to the bishop of the diocese where the vacant 
benefice was. If the patron did not present, the bishop was 
empowered to do so, jure devoluto ; and if the bishop refused 
to admit a duly qualified minister lawfully presented, the 
patron might retain the fruits of the benefice, and apply for 
letters of horning, " charging the ordinary to do his duty in 
the receiving and admitting such a person as the said patron 
had presented." 3 

In 1638 came the Covenanted Assembly, in which Episco- 
pacy was overturned to its very foundations, and Presbytery 
again set up in its stead. From this time patrons seem to have 
been very little consulted in the settlement of ministers ; the 
Church took the whole matter into its own hands ; but it was 
not till 1649 that patronage was abolished by law. In that 
year, however, the parliament declared patronage to be an 
evil under which the Lord's people had long groaned ; that it 
had no warrant in the Word of God, but was founded on the 
canon law, was a Popish custom, brought into the Church in 
the time of ignorance and superstition ; and therefore they 
abolished it, and empowered presbyteries to settle ministers 
" on the call or with the consent of the congregation, on whom 
none was to be intruded against their will." Following up this 
act, the General Assembly, that same year, enacted that the 
kirk-session of each congregation should elect the minister, 
and that, if he was approved of by the congregation, he should 
be tried and admitted by the presbytery; but that if a majority 
of the congregation dissented, the matter was to be reported 
to the presbytery, and the presbytery, unless they found the 

1 James VI., pari. i. chap. vii. 2 Ibid. pari. xii. chap. cxiv. 

8 Punlop's Parochial Law, p. 197. 


reasons of dissent grounded on causeless prejudices, were to 
appoint a new election to be made. 1 

Next came the Restoration in 1660, followed by the Act 
Rescissory, which cut down at one fell stroke all the legislation 
of the last twenty-seven years. Episcopacy was set up, patron- 
age restored, those who had entered the ministry under the Act 
1649 were driven from their parishes, and the dismal years of 
persecution begun. 

Then came the Revolution, when the Popish James was 
declared to have forfeited the throne, and Presbytery was 
again established as the form of worship most agreeable to the 
inclinations of the people. In 1690, William III., though with 
a grudge, consented to the abolition of patronage \ and the 
parliament provided that, when a vacancy in any church 
occurred, the elders and heritors 2 were to choose a person for 
the approval of the congregation ; and if the congregation dis- 
approved of the person thus selected, they were to give in their 
reasons to the presbytery, by whom the whole matter was to 
be finally determined. It was further provided that the 
patrons, in consideration of their being deprived of their 
ancient rights, were to receive from the parish six hundred 
merks, on obtaining payment of which they were obliged to 
execute a formal renunciation of the patronage. They were 
also to receive all the vacant teinds of the parish to which no 
other could prove a right. 3 

It is somewhat remarkable that, notwithstanding the religious 
fervour of the period, only two parishes, Old Monkland and 
New Monkland, obtained effectual renunciations. Other two, 
Calder and Strathblane, had paid the money, but the one had 
as yet received no renunciation, and the other had got one 
which was afterwards declared by the courts of law to be in- 
valid. 4 Such was the state of matters when the British parlia- 
ment in 1 7 12 proceeded to legislate on the subject. 

Carstares, Blackwell, and Baillie were still in London, in- 
structed by the commission of Assembly to oppose the bill. 
They presented a petition to the House of Peers, in which they 
traced the history of patronage. 5 They declared that it had 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 212. See also Dunlop's Parochial Law. 

2 Heritor is a Scotch law-word for landowner. 

3 William and Mary, pari. i. chap, xxiii. year 1690. 

4 Dunlop's Parochial Law, p. 203, note. 

5 This petition was addressed simply to the peers present in parliament, 
as the Presbyterians had scruples about addressing the bishops as Lords 
Spiritual. The Duke of Buckingham, and another lord, objected to this 


always been reckoned a grievance and a burden ; they alluded 
to the concession of tithes which had been made to the patrons 
when patronage was abolished in 1690; and argued that if it 
was now restored, they would enjoy both the purchase and the 
price. They further alleged that the restitution of patronage 
would gratify only a few, and distress very many ; that the 
patrons themselves did not in general desire it \ that it would 
breed contests and disorders between patrons and presbyteries, 
heritors and people \ that it would lead to Simoniacal pactions 
and unacceptable settlements ; and, last of all, that it would 
be a violation of the Act of Security, which formed a funda- 
mental condition of the Union. 1 

It was argued, on the other side, that at the time of the Re- 
formation, patronage was preserved \ that it was continued by 
the Act 1592 — the charter of presbytery; that the parliament 
which abolished it in 1649 was a mere faction, so that it might 
be said to have been all along part and parcel of the Presby- 
terian Church. How could it be said to be an infraction of the 
Union, when the Articles of Union only guaranteed the con- 
tinuance of Presbytery, and patronage, so far from being 
opposed to Presbytery, had existed with it throughout almost 
its entire history ? How could it be alleged that the patrons 
were to receive back their patronages, and retain the price that 
was paid for them, when it was notorious that scarcely a single 
parish had paid the thirty-three pounds required by the Act of 
1690 to compel a renunciation, and the unappropriated teinds 
were a mockery ? The truth was, the heritors had the price, 
and the presbyteries had the purchase \ for the one still re- 
tained their teinds, and the others now exercised the patron- 
age. We are told, said they, that popular election is agreeable 
to the Word of God, and the practice of the primitive Church. 
But what is this to the purpose ? There is no such thing as 
popular election in Scotland. It is in the hands of the 
heritors and elders ; and if the people object, the decision lies 
with the presbyteries in the end. As for Simony, it was 

title, and moved that Carstares and his brethren should be taken into 
custody. The Earl of Loudon saved his countrymen from this disgrace 
by saying that they did not know the forms of the House ; and the matter 
was dropt upon the petition being withdrawn. It was again presented, 
addressed in regular form, to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the 
Church was then allowed to be heard by counsel. (Wodrow Correspond- 
ence, vol. i. p. 307, note.) 

1 This document is given in the Appendix to Carstares's State Papers, 
pp. 796-98. 


tauntingly said, surely the Presbyterian ministers were too good 
men to indulge in such practices. No valid objection, it was 
finally urged, lay against the bill ; and its adoption would put 
an end to the unseemly contests which had arisen in the 
election of ministers, and make the Church of Scotland more 
respectable in itself, and more agreeable to the nobility and 
gentry. 1 

The bill passed both Houses by large majorities, and on the 
2 2d of April it received the royal assent and became law. Its 
preamble asserts that the presentation of ministers to vacant 
parishes had belonged to patrons till the year 1690, when it 
was taken from them and bestowed upon the heritors and 
elders, and that this new way of calling ministers had occasioned 
great heats and inconveniences, and besides was a hardship to 
those whose ancestors had founded and endowed the churches. 
A minute inquiry into church affairs between 1690 and 17 12 
reveals that there had been many unseemly spectacles at the 
settlement of ministers ; but these had almost all arisen from 
Episcopal congregations resisting Presbyterian ministers, and 
would have happened if these ministers had been presented by 
patrons instead of being chosen by heritors and elders. There 
were also disputes about the removal of ministers from one 
parish to another ; but they arose from the exceeding scarcity 
of Presbyterian clergymen, and from many different churches 
competing for the same man. There were a few cases of 
altercation among the electors, or between the electors and the 
congregation. But such disputes were comparatively rare, and 
did no great harm. 2 They were the necessary result of 
independent thought. If they can be regarded as sores, it is 
certain they soon healed and left no evil effects behind them. 
On the other hand, the restoration of patronage begat divisions 
and strifes which continued from that day to this. It did not 
bring back the nobility and gentry to the national Church ; it 
led to three disastrous secessions ; and after the mischief was 

1 See Remarks upon the Representations made by the Kirk of Scotland 
concerning Patronages, Appendix to Carstares's State Papers, pp. 798-800. 

2 The Rev. Dr Cook, in his evidence before the Patronage Committee, 
says that, between 1690 and 1712, there were at least a hundred cases of 
disputed transportation; and between 1703 and 1712, from twenty to 
thirty cases of conflicting calls. But no one will marvel at this who re- 
members the state of the Church at the time. Probably five or six hundred 
parishes had been suddenly emptied of their Episcopal incumbents, and 
there were not enough of Presbyterian ministers to fill them. It was very 
natural the people should quarrel for the ministers that were to be had, 
The Church was in an abnormal slate, 

A.D. 1712.] THE CHURCH^ DISMAY. 237 

done, and the Act of Anne could no longer be maintained, it 
was discarded in 1874. 

The Patronage Act carried dismay into the Presbyterian 
ranks. All agreed in reprobating it as a most mischievous 
piece of legislation. The courtly Carstares had done what he 
could to oppose it ; and now that it was passed, he joined with 
the Covenanting Wodrow in lamenting it. Sagacious men be- 
lieved that it was preliminary to the reintroduction of Episco- 
pacy. 1 As the bill went up to the Lords, it was not even 
provided that the presentee should be a Presbyterian ; and it 
was only by the efforts of the Duke of Argyll that a clause to 
that effect was inserted. Many of the patrons of Scotland 
were then, as they are still, Episcopalians, and it was dreaded 
that they might use their rights of presentation to advance the 
interests of their party. The very worst was anticipated ; and 
the fears of the ministers were increased by the taunting and 
triumphant tone of the Jacobites. It is certain that it was 
chiefly through Jacobite influence that it was brought into the 
legislature and passed. 2 

The General Assembly met on the 1st of May. At that 
time it was known in Edinburgh that the Patronage Bill had 
passed the House of Lords, and had been remitted to the 
Commons. 3 The royal letter presented by her Majesty's Com- 
missioner, the Duke of Athole, contained a reference to the 
proceedings of the parliament : — " Lest any late occurrences 
may have possessed some of you with fears and jealousies, we 
take this solemn occasion to assure you it is our firm purpose 
to maintain the Church of Scotland as established by law." 
The Assembly, in their answer, were honest enough to say, 
" The late occurrences which your Majesty is pleased to take 
notice of have, we must acknowledge, possessed us with fears 
and jealousies." They went farther. They approved of the 
petitions which the commission had presented to her Majesty 
while the Toleration and Patronage Bills were in dependence, 
ordered them to be engrossed in their records, and in the usual 
address to the queen said, " We, being met in the General 
Assembly of this Church, do in all humble duty beg leave to 
put your Majesty farther in mind of the things which were laid 
before your Majesty by the commission of the last General 
Assembly, as grievous and prejudicial to this Church \ and, 
indeed, the late occurrences that have happened do so nearly 

1 See M'Cormick's Life of Carstares. 2 Lockhart, Papers. 

3 Wodrow 's Correspondence, vol. i. p. 275. 

2 3 8 



affect our well-settled and secured Church establishment, that 
we cannot possibly be silent." 1 

There was another act passed in this session of parliament 
which vexed the Presbyterians. The " First Book of Dis- 
cipline " had denounced the observance of holidays as super- 
stitious, and that they were so was devoutly believed by the 
whole Presbyterian population. It was one of the marks by 
which they were distinguished from the Episcopalians. The 
observation of Christmas and Easter was one of the Articles 
of Perth against which the Presbyterians rebelled. During 
the heyday of the Covenant there were frequent fasts, but no 
festivals. During the dominancy of Episcopacy there was a 
return to holidays. When William and Mary came to the 
throne and re-established the Presbyterian Church, the first 
Scottish parliament gratified the feeling of the country by dis- 
charging the " Yule Vacancies," and compelling the Lords of 
Session to continue in the administration of justice without 
interruption from the ist of November to the last day of 
February. But the tide was again turned, Jacobite counsels 
were followed, Anglican influences were omnipotent, and an 
act was passed restoring the Christmas Recess. We can now 
look back upon this measure with religious indifference, and 
even Presbyterian Lords of Session, so often as Christmas 
comes round, may feel silently grateful to the act which allows 
them to eat their Christmas dinner with a digestion unim- 
paired by the pressure of judicial duties; but it was not so 
regarded at the time, and, looking to the circumstances in 
which it was passed, we must pronounce it a wanton insult to 
the religious prejudices of the nation. 

But the Episcopalians had still another measure in store. 
On the 31st of May, on the motion of Mr Murray, son of Lord 
Stormont, the House of Commons agreed to address the queen 
— " That she would be pleased to apply the rents of the late 
bishops' lands in North Britain that remained in the crown 
for the support of such of the Episcopal clergy there as should 
take the oaths to her Majesty." On the 16th of June, the 
queen acquainted her faithful Commons that she had acceded 
to their request. It is certain that many of the Episcopal 
clergy had been precipitated into abject poverty ; collections 
among the charitable had already been made for them, both 
in England and Ireland ; and if this measure was designed to 
be merely temporary — to relieve poverty, and not to propagate 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 477. 


dissent — every merciful man will pronounce it to be good. 1 
But when all the measures of this session were taken together 
— the Toleration Act, the Patronage Act, the Christmas 
Recess Act, the resolution of the crown to endow the Epis- 
copal clergy out of the bishops' teinds — no marvel that the 
Presbyterians were dismayed, and began to fear that their days 
were numbered. Their alarm was increased by whispers that 
still more ominous measures were in preparation. The General 
Assembly, it was said, was to be interdicted from meeting, or 
allowed to meet only to be dissolved. 2 The presbyteries were 
to be compelled to induct all licentiates who received presenta- 
tions without further form or trial. But time wore on, and the 
danger and the dread passed away together. 

Reference has already been made to the Abjuration Oath, 
which, according to the provisions of the Toleration Act, was 
to be imposed alike upon the Presbyterian and Episcopal 
clergy. The person who took this oath abjured the Pretender, 
and promised to support the succession to the crown, as settled 
by certain specified acts of the English parliament. When these 
acts were examined they were found to require that the sovereign 
should be of the communion of the Church of England. This 
was a stumbling-block to many of the Presbyterians, who 
argued that if they took the oath they not only assented to 
this limitation of the crown, but gave their sanction to a form 
of Church government which they regarded as sinful, and 
which some of them considered themselves bound by Covenant 
obligations to extirpate. 3 

The Assembly of 1712 agreed upon an address to the 
queen, in which, after strongly declaring their attachment to 

1 Carstares had projected a plan for sustaining the ejected curates out of 
the bishops' teinds. It would appear that this Royal Bounty was never 
carried out. Some years afterwards a measure was brought into parlia- 
ment for the more effectual attainment of the same object, but it was 

2 M'Cormick's Life of Carstares, p. 83. 

3 The following was the obnoxious clause in this oath: — "And I do 
faithfully promise, to the utmost of my power, to support, maintain, and 
defend the succession of the crown against him, the said James, and all 
other persons whatsoever, AS the same is and stands settled by an act, entitled 
An Act declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the 
Succession of the Crown to her present Majesty and the Heirs of her body, 
being Protestants ; and as the same, by another act, entitled, An Act for 
the further limitation of the CroTcu, and better securing the Rights and 
Liberties of the Subject, is, and stands settled," &c. &c. To satisfy the 
Presbyterians, the Lords agreed to substitute the word which for the 
offensive word as, but the Commons refused their sanction to the change. 


the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, as entailed 
on the Princess Sophia, Electress and Duchess-Dowager of 
Hanover, they stated their scruples as to taking the oath. 1 
But it was not in the power of the queen to dispense with an 
oath required by act of parliament, and all that the Assembly 
could intend by this address was to prevent misconceptions in 
regard to their principles. The law required the oath to be 
taken, and what was to be done ? Some thought that the law 
must be honoured. Others declared that they would obey 
God rather than man ; that conscience was more to be respected 
than law. The 28th of October was the last day on which the 
oath could be taken, and every one put off taking it as long as 
he could. " The melancholy day," writes Wodrow on the 
30th, " is now over." 2 Principal Carstares, he goes on to tell, 
accompanied by a body of his brethren, presented himself be- 
fore a Justice of the Peace Court in Edinburgh, read a declara- 
tion as to the sense in which they understood the oath, then 
took it, and finally protested in the hands of a notary. 3 Scenes 
of a similar kind happened in Glasgow and other parts of 
Scotland. But a considerable proportion of the clergy refused 
to take the oath under any circumstances, and the government 
did not resort to severity to enforce it. 

The Church was now divided into two factions — the Jurants 
and Nonjurants. As a matter of course, they mutually up- 
braided one another. The Nonjurants reproached the Jurants 
as traitors to the good old cause. The Jurants flung in the 
face of the Nonjurants that they loved their own needless 
scruples more than the peace and prosperity of the Church. 
In some districts of the country the Covenanting spirit was 
still strong, and there the people forsook the Jurants, as sinful 
temporizers, and flocked in crowds to the ministry of the 
Nonjurants. The danger of a schism in the Church was im- 
minent. When the Assembly met in 17 13, by the tact and 
influence of Carstares, an act was passed for maintaining unity 
and peace, in which these divisions were deplored, schism 
was deprecated, and all were exhorted to mutual forbearance 
and charity. 4 

This act helped to soothe the agitation which had arisen, 
but still the Jurants and Nonjurants continued, in some cases, 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 467-70. 

2 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 321, 322. 

3 Lockhart, who was present, gives a somewhat disingenuous account of 
this matter. (Papers, vol. i.) 4 Acts of Assembly, p. 482. 


to keep aloof from one another. The Nonjurants especially, 
priding themselves on their superior merits, avoided their 
brethren. When the sacramental season came round, they 
invited only those of their own way of thinking to assist them, 
and their tents were surrounded by a vast multitude, congre- 
gated from every part of the country. Some ministers went 
further. One debarred from the communion-table all who had 
taken the sinful oath. Another declared in his sermon, that 
every minister w T ho had taken it was guilty of three great sins : 
— he had renounced the Solemn League and Covenant ; he 
had taken the crown off Christ's head, and set it on the queen's ; 
he had caused a division in the Church which was like to be 
followed by dismal consequences. Others read the oath from 
the pulpit, and then told the people that to take it w r as to bury 
the Reformation, and put the gravestone on the League ; and 
that the next step in the downward progress would be to em- 
brace Prelacy and set up its ceremonies. 1 A schism was in 
fact begun. Some of the Nonjurants refused to meet with 
their brethren in presbyteries and synods ; and, looking upon 
the parishes of those who had sworn the oath as lacking a true 
ministry, they did not hesitate to enter them, and baptize the 
children which were brought to them by admiring parents. 2 
The more sober Nonjurants condemned and deplored these 
extremes, 3 but still they were carried so far that the Assembly 
a second time had to utter its voice against them. Five years 
afterwards the oath was altered, and a subject which caused 
many heart-burnings, and shook the Church to its very founda- 
tions, is now altogether forgotten, or remembered only to 
make us marvel that so small a spark should have kindled so 
great a flame. 

In the Assembly which met in May 17 14, it was thought 
proper to address the queen regarding the religious state of 
the country. It was declared that Popery was on the in- 
crease ; that in a few parishes several hundreds had lately 
gone over to it ; and that Popish bishops and priests openly 
celebrated mass, gave confirmation, met for w r orship in 
chapels, and seduced the people. The Episcopalians were 
represented as equally insolent. Not satisfied with using the 

1 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. i. p. 340. 

2 Acts of Assembly, p. 489. 

3 YVodrow was a Nonjurant, and deplored such devisive courses ; even 
Boston, who was generally somewhat violent in his ways, condemned those 
who went so far. 


242 CHURCH HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. [chap, xxill. 

liturgy in their meeting-houses, some of them had read it in 
parish churches. A mob of Episcopalians had seized upon 
the Old Church of Aberdeen, and had set up their worship in 
it. But with all their love for the liturgy, it was told they 
either altogether omitted the prescribed prayers for her 
Majesty, or so altered them that their words would apply 
equally well to the Pretender. 1 Wodrow's Correspondence 
corroborates these statements. The Papists and the Epis- 
copalians were equally busy. The former celebrated their 
worship with a publicity upon which they had not ventured 
since the flight of James VII., and the latter were reading 
their liturgy everywhere. More than this, they were scandal- 
ising the Presbyterians by putting on their canonicals at 
burials, and reading the Service for the Dead at the grave. 
Some of them even held kirk-sessions and exercised church 
discipline, absolving those whom the Presbyterians would have 

Before another Assembly met Queen Anne was no more. 
She died on the ist of August, the last of the long line of 
Stewarts who have occupied the throne. She was a princess 
of mean abilities, and seldom thought or acted for herself; 
but her private character was irreproachable ; and she was 
surrounded by statesmen and soldiers, whose great talents 
have given a lustre to her reign. The consummate eloquence 
of Oxford and Bolingbroke guided her counsels \ the martial 
genius of Marlborough led her armies to victory ; and the great 
names of Swift, Addison, and Pope, make many say that Eng- 
lish literature reached its acme in the days of Queen Anne. 
The Union of the two kingdoms, however, will ever be remem- 
bered as the chief glory of her reign. 

The queen herself had engaged in plots to secure the suc- 
cession to her brother, the son of the unfortunate James, but 
upon her death George Louis, Elector of Hanover, was peace- 
ably proclaimed king, and arriving in the country soon after- 
wards, assumed the government by the style and title of 
George I. The Tories were now dismissed from office ; 
Bolingbroke and Ormond, under the dread of impeachment, 
fled, and every place of emolument and trust was placed in 
the hands of the Whigs. 

The accession of George I. gave unmingled satisfaction to 
the Presbyterian population of Scotland. It was a pledge of 
the continuance of their ecclesiastical polity. The monarch 
1 Acts of Assembly, p. 491. 

A.D. 1715.] DEATH OF CARSTARES. 243 

did everything to assure them of his favour. In the midst 
of a brilliant gathering of English and Scotch nobles he took 
the oath required by the Act of Security. When the Assem- 
bly met in May 1715, he thanked them for the proofs 
they had given of their loyalty and affection, and assured 
them that he would inviolably maintain their Presbyterian 
Church in all its rights and privileges. The Assembly, full 
of gratitude, returned an answer characterised by piety and 
wisdom. 1 

That address is signed by William Carstares. He had 
presided in this Assembly with his usual dignity ; but he was 
never to sit in an earthly Assembly more. In the month of 
August he was struck by apoplexy, and though he partly 
recovered from it, his faculties were impaired, and he lingered 
on in a lethargic state till the 28th of December, when he 
expired. In him the Church of Scotland lost her wisest 
counsellor and her greatest benefactor. She owed her very 
existence to him. He was both a great and a good man. 
Though long the inmate of a court, he never forgot for a 
moment his sacred office ; and the pressure of public busi- 
ness, in which he was continually involved, never deadened 
him to religious feeling or family affection. His charity was 
unbounded, and was made doubly beautiful by the kindly 
and unostentatious way in which it was administered. He 
was interred in the Greyfriars Churchyard. When his body was 
being lowered into the grave, two mourners were observed to 
go aside from the company and burst into tears. It was 
found they were two Episcopal clergymen, whose families, for 
a considerable time, had been supported by his alms. 2 

While Carstares was dying the flame of rebellion was 
spreading through the country. The premature death of 
Anne had spoiled the plots of the Jacobites, but they felt that 
now if ever was the time to make an effort to restore the 
ancient dynasty. The Earl of Mar, who had been Secretary 
of State for Scotland during the previous reign, received a 
commission from the Pretender to be his commander-in-chief 
in the north, and set up the royal standard among the hills of 
Braemar. The Marquises of Huntly and Tullibardine, the 
Earls of Marischal and Southesk, hastened to join him. The 
Highland clans, faithful to their old allegiance, were speedily 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 496-98. 

2 See his Life by M'Cormick. Also Dr Story's Life of William Car- 


in motion, and in a few weeks more entered Perth nine thou- 
sand strong. On the 13th of November the battle of Sheriff- 
muir was fought, which, though not decisive, checked the 
advance of the rebel army. 

On Christmas Day the Pretender landed at Peterhead, 
attended by a few friends. The Episcopal clergy in the 
north had begun to mention him in their prayers. Some of 
them now hastened to present him with an humble address, 
owning him as their only king. A day of thanksgiving for 
his safe landing was fixed, and set forms of prayer prescribed ; 1 
but the prince himself scrupulously avoided being present at 
the Protestant service. 

Toward the end of January, the Duke of 
A,D ' l ' 1 ' Argyll found himself strong enough to advance 
upon Perth. Upon his approach the Pretender retired to Mon- 
trose ; and, seeing that his fortunes were desperate, he took 
shipping and sailed for France. The main body of his army 
fled to the North ; and on reaching Badenoch it broke 
up, and every man shifted for himself. So ended the Rebel- 
lion of 1715. 

At this testing time the Presbyterians proved their attach- 
ment to the house of Hanover. They felt that their religion 
depended on the issue. Notwithstanding the dissatisfaction 
which still continued regarding the Union, very few of them 
joined the rebels. Scarcely a single minister gave them the 
benefit of his prayers, saving a few who did it to save their 
lives. Even the M'Millanites, notwithstanding their repeated 
testimonies against uncovenanted kings, talked of taking arms, 
if need were, in defence of the government, provided they 
were allowed to fight by themselves, and not brought into sin- 
ful association with malignants. 2 When all was over, and the 
Assembly met in May amid profound peace, an address was 
voted to his Majesty, which, abandoning the stately stiffness 

1 A Collection of Original Letters and Authentick Papers relating to 
the Rebellion in 171 5. Edinburgh, 1730. The following is a specimen 
of the prayers. The rubric is — " Instead of the first collect for morning 
prayer shall be used this following :" — " O Lord God of our salvation, 
who has been exceeding gracious to this land, and by Thy miraculous 
providence hast delivered Thy servant, our dread sovereign King James, 
from all the snares and conspiracies laid against his most precious life by 
unnatural and blood-thirsty men, and has preserved him in the dangers of 
the deep, and brought him safely into his own dominions, to the comfort 
of all those who, in obedience to Thy Holy Word, fear God and. honour 
the'' king," &c, &c. 

2 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. ii. 


of such compositions, breaks out in the most florid and 
jubilant language of felicitation. 

As many of the Episcopal clergy had openly taken part with 
the Pretender, they could scarcely expect to escape the punish- 
ments which await the vanquished. Those of them who 
occupied parish churches were summoned before their pres- 
byteries and deposed. Those of them who worshipped in 
meeting-houses were brought before the magistrates. Their 
chapels were shut, and themselves in many cases thrown into 
prison. The Oaths of Allegiance and Abjuration were pressed 
imperatively upon all \ and those who refused to take them 
were declared to be unqualified to exercise any of their sacred 
functions, and a heavy blow was thus given to Episcopacy, 
whose cause was now nearly as forlorn as was that of the 
prince it had so faithfully served. 1 But we must now turn to 
other subjects. 

The Church of Scotland allows little latitude of belief within 
her pale. Her creed descends to the minutest details ; and 
just five years before the time at which we have arrived, she 
had imposed upon her clergy a Formula of Subscription more 
rigid than that prescribed by Act of Parliament. It is not so 
w r ith other Churches. The Church of Rome has cherished in 
her bosom children of different forms and different features — 
the Scotists and Thomists, the Jansenists and violinists — such 
men as Contarini, and such as Tetzel. The Church of Eng- 
land has been almost as catholic. It was once said of her that 
she had a Calvinistic creed, a Romish liturgy, and an Arminian 
clergy ; and the various phases of faith which have now been 
judicially sanctioned are so wide as to justify the saying. Her 
maxim seems to be that the basis must be wide if the build- 
ing would be high. Accordingly, among the divines who have 
eaten at her table, and been honoured with her smiles, there 
are some who, with Popish names, would pass for Popish 
priests ; others who have taught an uncompromising Cal- 
vinism ; others who have been the stoutest defenders of 

1 Following up these measures, an act was passed in April 1719, " For 
making more effectual the laws appointing the oaths for the security of the 
government to be taken by ministers of churches and meeting-houses 
within Scotland." By this act, every Episcopal minister performing divine 
service in any meeting-house, without having taken the oaths in the terms 
of the Toleration Act, and praying for King George and the royal family 
by name, was to suffer six months' imprisonment, and to have his meet- 
ing-house shut up for the same period. The Episcopal clergy did not 
comply with this law, but still they and their meeting-houses were con- 
nived at by the government. 

246 CHURCH HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. [chap, xxiir. 

Arminius • others who have written in defence of Arianism ; 
others who have held a purely negative creed. There is 
the High Churchman, the Low Churchman, and the Broad 
Churchman — filling the whole middle space between Roman- 
ism and Rationalism. But not so with the Church of Scot- 
land. Down to the middle of the present century all her 
ministers spoke precisely the same things. The mind of each 
one reproduced with wonderful distinctness all the theological 
conclusions of the Westminster Divines. Notwithstanding the 
independence of the Scotch intellect, it was seldom exercised 
upon forms of faith. Notwithstanding the free scope of its 
metaphysics, the region of theology was carefully avoided. 
Notwithstanding the schisms which had taken place, heresy 
was never able to lift up her head. Every Scotsman you met 
with, in whatever corner of the globe it might be, was sure to 
be rigidly orthodox. Amid all the winds of doctrine which 
had blown since the Reformation, the Church had been kept 
steadily at her moorings by the weight of her anchorage. 
With the terrors of deposition before their eyes* few Scotch 
ministers have dared to think for themselves. 

But notwithstanding this marvellous uniformity of faith, the 
Church Courts have required, in a few instances, to deal with 
heresy. One of these instances occurred at this period. 
Rumours had got afloat that John Simson, Professor of 
Divinity in the University of Glasgow, was teaching Armini- 
anism. This was polluting the stream at the fountain-head. 
The Presbytery of Glasgow, where Simson appears to have 
been liked, did not meddle with the matter ; but Mr Web- 
ster, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, zealous for the purity 
of doctrine, brought the reports which were in circulation 
before the Assembly of 17 14, and was instructed by it to 
table his complaint before the Presbytery of Glasgow, of which 
Simson was a member. He did so ; and the Professor of 
Divinity gave in answers to his charges. 1 The whole matter 
was again brought up before the Assembly which met in 17 15, 
where it excited a good deal of debate ; but finally a com- 
mittee of thirty ministers and six elders was appointed to 
investigate the truth of the charges, with instructions as to 
how they were to proceed. They were to separate the alleged 
heretical propositions into three classes : those which were 
contrary to the Word of God and Confession ; those which 
were controverted by orthodox divines, and not determined 
1 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. ii. 

A.D. 1716.] PROFESSOR SIMSON. 247 

by the Confession ; and those which were not clearly con- 
tained either in the Scriptures or the writings of orthodox 
divines. They were to ask Mr Simson what he denied, and 
what he was anxious to qualify. They were to allow both 
parties to lead proof, and to distinguish between things taught 
by Mr Simson in the school and things emitted by him in 
private conversation. 1 

The Rebellion interrupted the labours of this committee, 
so that they were not able to bring their investigations to a 
close before the Assembly met in 1716. But in 17 17 they pre- 
sented their report. It appeared that Simson strongly declared 
his adherence to every article of the Confession of Faith, and 
protested that, instead of holding the errors charged upon him 
he had often refuted them, and was ready to refute them again. 
He had used, however, several expressions which it was thought 
were indicative of a laxity of opinion, inconsistent with strict 
orthodoxy. The Assembly was perplexed as to what should 
be done. The process had been three years in dependence, 
and must now be brought to an issue. A resolution was at 
last unanimously arrived at which it was thought vindicated 
the doctrine of the Church, and at the same time put the most 
charitable construction upon the sentiments of the professor. 
It was found that he had used some expressions capable of a 
heterodox meaning ; and he was therefore prohibited from 
using any such expressions in the future. 2 

The same Assembly which passed this sentence upon Simson 
had another fine point in divinity to solve, brought up by com- 
plaint from the presbytery of Auchterarder. Auchterarder 
spreads out her dependent parishes in one of the most beauti- 
ful, and, till recently, one of the most sequestered districts of 
Scotland. The Ochils stand like a verdant wall to the south ; 
away to the north and west, the Grampians lift up their broad, 
brawny backs ; and between, Strathearn stretches out her fields, 
covered with wood, waving with corn, and dotted with villages. 
This is the territory sacred to Auchterarder. One should 
have thought that in a scene so rural and so remote, the din 
of polemics would never have been heard ; and yet no presby- 
tery in the land has been more mixed up with the struggles 
and strifes of ecclesiastical parties. In the days of the Cove- 
nant's greatness, some of the brethren had ventured to doubt 
the wisdom of a Warning and Declaration, in which the 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 500, 501. 2 Ibid. p. 51S. 


Assembly had bearded the parliament, and declined to read 
it from their pulpits. For this one of them was compelled to 
confess his fault on his bended knees before the Assembly ; 
and the others were rebuked. " The Presbytery of Auchter- 
arder was under the rod/' writes Baillie, triumphantly, "to be 
made an example to all who would be turbulent." l In these 
latter days it has acquired a celebrity wider still, connected 
with a controversy in which the enthusiasm of the Covenant- 
ing period was revived, and when presbyteries were obliged to 
choose whether they would be beaten by the rod of the 
Assembly, or the rod of the Court of Session. 

It was the fate of this presbytery to be rebuked by the 
Assembly in 17 17, as it had been rebuked in 1649. A 
William Craig had appeared before them, and having under- 
gone his probationary trials, was licensed to preach. But 
this done, as the opinions of Simson were everywhere talked 
of, and every young man was suspected of being tinged with 
them, the presbytery resolved to sift their licentiate ; and, to 
make matters sure, they took down his answers to the queries 
in the form of a credo. One of these was, " I believe that it 
is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin 
in order to our coming to Christ, and instating us in covenant 
with God." Wodrow says that this proposition had made a 
dreadful noise, that it had found its way to London, and was 
talked of in the coffee-houses there as something horrible. 2 
The young man signed what was afterwards tauntingly called 
the Auchterarder Creed ; but he had wavered somewhat in 
his answers ; it was said he was both ignorant and weak, and 
the presbytery refused him an extract of his license. He 
appealed to the General Assembly. 

This was a curious subject for an ecclesiastical court, and 
it excited an animated debate. It was argued, on the one 
hand, that it was the height of presumption in a presbytery 
to impose doctrinal formulas different from those which the 
Church had received ; and, moreover, that the article of this 
new creed brought before them was quite indefensible. It was 
maintained, on the other hand, that the whole thing had arisen 
from the presbytery's zeal for purity of doctrine, and that, 
though the proposition was capable of a bad sense, it was also 
capable of a good one. 3 The Assembly at length came to a 
resolution, prohibiting Auchterarder or any other presbytery 

1 Letters, vol. ii. p. 91. 2 Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 269. 

3 Ibid. p. 270. 


from requiring subscription to any formulas except those 
approved of by the Assembly, and declaring their abhorrence 
of the proposition referred to " as unsound and most detest- 
able." They further appointed the presbytery to be cited 
before the Commission, in order that they might explain what 
they meant by the proposition which they had required their 
licentiate to subscribe. 1 

As might have been expected, when the presbytery appeared 
they put such a sense upon their proposition as was considered 
satisfactory. 2 The disagreement had arisen about a form ol 
words rather than a form of faith. The presbytery meant that 
in coming to Christ we come with all our sins, that by Him 
we may be at once pardoned and purified ; for if we renounced 
our sins before coming to Christ, what were the use of coming 
at all. The Assembly considered the proposition as imply- 
ing that it was not necessary a man should abandon sin in 
order to be a Christian — that he might be in his sins and yet 
be in Christ. The presbytery and Assembly together had got 
into the same entanglement as the divines who have disputed 
whether repentance or faith comes first in the history of con- 
version. If you say, repentance, you are told that without 
faith, repentance is impossible ; if you say, faith, you are told 
that that implies a man may be a believer in Christ without 
having yet repented of his sins. 

Unfortunately, these doctrinal disagreements did not end 
here. Sitting in the Assembly-house after the condemnation 
of the Auchterarder proposition, the Rev. Thomas Boston, 
well known as the author of the " Fourfold State," happened 
to mention to Mr Drummond of Crieff, who sat beside him, the 
" Marrow of Modern Divinity," as a book which ably discussed 
the topics which had been started in the debate. Mr Drummond 
procured a copy of the book, and was so pleased with it that 
he recommended it to others. As it had become scarce, the 
friends resolved upon a republication of it, as the most effec- 
tive way of propagating the opinions w r hich they held, and Mr 
Hog of Carnock undertoook to write a recommendatory pre- 
face. This edition of the "Marrow" appeared in 1718, and 
instantly attracted attention. 

The " Marrow of Modern Divinity " was the work of Edward 

Fisher, a gentleman-commoner of Brazennose College, and 

was first published in 1646. It is in the form of a dialogue, 

and was designed to refute the errors of both Nomians and 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 519. 2 Ibid. p. 522. 


Antinomians ; to show the covenant of works and the covenant 
of grace — the 4 law and the gospel, in their true relative position ; 
and is characterised by considerable learning and logical 
ability. It was a new resurrectionary influence from Puritanical 
England, and though Evangelista is the principal speaker in 
the dialogue, its teaching is much more Paulinistic than Evan- 
gelical. In the same year in which the Scotch edition of this 
work was published, Mr Drummond of Crieff was brought 
before his presbytery for a sermon he had preached, in which 
it was alleged he had taught gross Antinomianism ; and when 
the case subsequently went to the synod he saved himself 
only by making apologetic explanations. But it was seen that 
many of his brethren sympathised with his views. 1 In fact, 
the Marrow controversy was now fairly begun, and early in 
17 19, Hog of Carnock found it necessary to publish a defence 
of the book he had recommended. This pamphlet had hardly 
got into circulation when Principal Haddow of St Andrews, in 
a sermon preached before the Synod of Fife, made an assault 
on the " Marrow." The Synod requested him to publish his 
sermon, which he did, and Hog was not slow to reply to it. 
The Church of Scotland was now for the first time, and almost 
for the last time, divided upon a point of doctrine. The 
Auchterarder proposition was regarded as the root of the 

When the Assembly met in May, no specific mention was 
made of the " Marrow," or the controversy it had originated, 
but the Commission was specially instructed to inquire if the 
prohibition of the Auchterarder proposition was observed 
throughout the Church, if any books or pamphlets bearing 
upon the subject, and contrary to the Confession of Faith, 
had been published, and if so, to call the authors or recom- 
menders of such works before them to answer for their con- 
duct. 2 This was ominous of what was to come. 

In compliance with their instructions, the Commission ap- 
pointed " a committee for preserving the purity of doctrine," 
which met at Edinburgh, and appointed a sub-committee 
which was to meet at St Andrews. The committee summoned 
Hog of Carnock, Warden of Gargunnock, Brisbane of Stirling, 
and Hamilton of Airth. who were all suspected of being tinged 
with the " Marrow " heresy, and questioned them in regard to 
their views ; and their answers were thought satisfactory. 3 But 

1 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. ii. pp. 399, 5°8- 

2 Acts of the Assembly, pp. 531, 532. 3 Boston's Memoirs. 


while the committee were examining the abettors of the book, 
the sub-committee were examining the book itself, and ex- 
tracting from it heterodox propositions to be afterwards sub- 
mitted to the Assembly. 

The month of May 1720 came round, and again the As- 
sembly met. At its fourth session the committee for preserv- 
ing purity of doctrine laid its report on the table, containing 
the passages which had been culled from the " Marrow of 
Divinity." These were arranged under four distinct heads, to 
prove that the book contained five distinct heresies : — That 
assurance was of the nature of faith ; that the atonement was 
universal • that holiness was not necessary to salvation ; that 
the fear of punishment and the hope of reward were not 
allowed to be motives of a believer's obedience ; and that the 
believer is not under the law as a rule of life. The committee 
also drew the attention of the Assembly to six Antinomian 
paradoxes defended in the " Marrow," by the application of a 
distinction drawn between the law of works and the law of 
Christ. The paradoxes were — " A believer is not under the 
law, but is altogether delivered from it." " A believer doth 
not commit sin." " The Lord can see no sin in a believer." 
" The Lord is not angry with a believer for his sins." " A be- 
liever hath no cause, neither to confess his sins, nor to crave 
pardon at the hand of God for them, neither to fast nor mourn, 
nor humble himself before the Lord for them." Besides the 
passages quoted in support of the five heretical propositions, 
the report mentioned some others equally objectionable, as — 
" A minister that does not persuade sinners to believe their 
sins are pardoned before he sees their lives reformed, for fear 
they should take more liberty to sin, is ignorant of the mystery 
of faith;" and, "Nor yet, as touching your justification and 
eternal salvation, will he love you ever a whit the less, though 
you commit never so many or great sins." 1 

The committee's report was allowed to lie upon the table 
for some days, that it might be maturely considered, and then, 
after very little debate, the Assembly declared the passages 
quoted from the " Marrow j; to be contrary to Scripture and 
the Confession of Faith, and therefore charged all the ministers 
of the Church, instead of recommending the book, to warn 
their parishioners against it. In the whole Assembly only four 
men were found to oppose this resolution. 

The controversy, however, was not to end here. Though 
1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 534-36. 


the Marrow party was small, it embraced several men of 
talents and determination, who would not, even at the bidding 
of the Assembly, renounce the views they held. The act of 
Assembly was discussed in presbyteries and private circles, in 
letters and in conversations. On the one hand, it was de- 
clared to be unjust to judge a book by a few detached 
sentences picked out of its pages by enemies, and separated 
from the context. On the other hand, it was maintained that 
a perusal of the whole book would justify the fairness of the 
committee, and show that it contained the doctrines which 
were imputed to it, and more especially that its tendency was 
toward Antinomianism. Some of the discussions assumed all 
the subtlety of those subtle discussions about sufficient grace 
which are treated by Pascal in his " Provincial Letters " with 
such grave irony. In the " Marrow " it is taught that " the 
moral law may be either said to be the matter of the law of 
works, or the matter of the law of Christ. As it is the matter 
of the law of works, it ought not to be a rule of life to a 
believer ; as it is the matter of the law of Christ, it ought to be 
a rule of life to a believer." Wodrow refined still farther, and 
declared that he could condemn this proposition, " As the law 
is the Covenant of Works, the believer is wholly delivered from 
it 1 " but not this one, " A believer is wholly delivered from the 
law, as it's a covenant of works. " 1 

A number of ministers, admirers of the " Marrow," resolved 
to make an effort to have the obnoxious act of Assembly re- 
pealed. With this end, they drew up a representation, begging 
the Assembly to reconsider its decision, and gave it in to the 
Committee of Bills for transmission to the Assembly, which 
had met in May 1721. This representation was signed by 
twelve men, who were henceforward called, sometimes the 
Representee, and sometimes the Marrow Men. They were 
— James Hog of Carnock, Thomas Boston of Ettrick, John 
Williamson of Inveresk, John Bonar of Torphichen, Gabriel 
Wilson of Maxton, James Kid of Queensferry, Ebenezer 
Erskine of Portmoak, Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, James 
Wardlaw of Dunfermline, Henry Davidson of Galashiels, 
James Bathgate of Orwell, and William Hunter of Lilliesleaf. 2 

Such were the twelve apostles of the Modern Divinity. We 
at once see that there were amongst them some men who have 

1 Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 553. 

2 A copy of this representation will be found in Struthers's History of 
Scotland, vol. i. pp. 498-506. 

A.D. 1721. 1 THE MARROW MEN. 253 

achieved for themselves a long-lived renown. Thomas Boston 
had composed, amid the pastoral scenery of the Ettrick, his 
" Fourfold State," which is read at some cottage firesides still. 
James Hog is described as a man of great learning and singular 
piety, but withal he was a keen controversialist. His style, 
however, is clumsy, which he himself was wont to excuse by 
reminding his critics that he had spent many years upon the 
Continent before being settled at Carnock, and had learned to 
think and speak in a foreign tongue. But Ebenezer and Ralph 
Erskine stand out in bold relief from all the others, not as the 
writers of anything memorable, but as the authors of a Seces- 
sion, and the founders of a Church which now estimates its 
adherents at half a million. 

While the Assembly of 172 1 was sitting, the Royal Com- 
missioner became unwell : it was with difficulty he could be 
present ; and as no one cared to revive the old disputes about 
the Church's independent powers, 1 an adjournment took place, 
and the business still undisposed of was referred to the Com- 
mission. Among other matters thus left over was the repre- 
sentation of the Marrow Men. The Commission, however, 
met on the very day after the Assembly was dissolved, so that 
no time was lost. The representation occupied a considerable 
part of several days, and there were several stout joists 
between the theological foemen. Boston afterwards wrote in 
his Memoirs, " Mr Williamson did, in a point of debate, fairly 
lay Mr Allan Logan, minister of Culross, and I was encouraged 
by the success of an encounter with Principal Haddow." 2 
The other party, however, did not acknowledge the prowess 
of their opponents, for they persisted in the belief that the 
" Marrow n had been righteously condemned. 

The Representers, besides asking the Assembly to repeal its 
act condemning the " Marrow" as derogatory to gospel truth, 
themselves ventured to condemn an act of the Assembly 
touching the preaching of catechetical doctrine. This was 
carrying the war into the enemies' country. In this act 
ministers were enjoined to insist, in their catechetical sermons, 
" upon the great and fundamental truths according to our 
Confession of Faith and Catechisms; such as that of the Being 
and Providence of God, the Divine authority of the Holy 

1 It appears from Wodrow's Correspondence, however, that there were 
some private grumbling on this subject. (Vol. ii. p. 583.) Boston appears 
to have been one of those grumblers. (See his Memoirs.) 

2 Boston's Memoirs, p. 373,. 


Scriptures, the necessary doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity 
in the Unity of the Godhead, particularly of the eternal Deity 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the satisfaction 
to Divine justice made by Him who is our only propitiation, 
of regeneration by efficacious grace, of free justification through 
our blessed surety, the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith 
alone, and of the necessity of a holy life in order to the obtain- 
ing of everlasting happiness." 1 These words sound like the 
words of men zealous for the purity of the faith ; but the Mar- 
row Men thought they discovered heresy in them, for they 
made no special mention of Christ's imputed righteousness, 
and they made holiness essential to salvation, " which they 
conceived to be of very dangerous consequence unto the 
doctrine of free grace." 

All this had at first caused a good deal of bitterness, as 
mutual suspicions and recriminations are sure to do ; but before 
the Assembly again met, men's minds had time to grow calm. 
In May 1722, the whole matter was brought before the Church 
met in its supreme judicatory, by a report from the Commis- 
sion, in which they recommended the Assembly to adhere to 
its Act of 1720, and to censure the Representee for the 
groundless aspersions they had cast upon the Church. From 
this resolution only one member of the Commission had dis- 
sented. In the Assembly the subject was keenly contested. 
The battle was fought before a small committee, before a 
committee of the whole House, before the House itself. A 
great part of the Assembly's time was occupied with it. 
" Many speeches," says Wodrow, " were made before they 
(the Marrow Men) came in ; as to their good disposition, but 
little of it appeared." 2 At length the Assembly came to a 
vote, and, by a hundred and thirty-four against five, accepted 
the report of the commission, with a few alterations, and con- 
verted it into an act. 

It is an operose document, occupying eight closely printed 
pages. It fortifies the orthodoxy of the Assembly of 1720 by 
quotations from the Confession of Faith and Catechisms ; it 
rebuts the assertions of the Representation ; it vindicates the 
Act anent Catechetical Doctrine 3 and " considering that the 
brethren's desire that the Act 1720 should be repealed is 
unjust, the Assembly does refuse the same : and because of 
the injurious reflections contained in their representation, as 
above mentioned, the Assembly do appoint their Moderator, 
1 Acts of Assembly, p. 538. 2 Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 646. 


in their name, to rebuke and admonish them ; and though 
their offence deserves a much higher censure, yet the Assem- 
bly forbears it, in hopes that the great lenity used towards 
them shall engage them to a more dutiful behaviour in time 
coming." 1 The Marrow Men stood the rebuke, and then pro- 
tested in the hands of a notary. 

A Church which allowed some latitude of belief to its 
members would not have meddled with the " Marrow of 
Modern Divinity." If that celebrated treatise diverges from 
the standard of high orthodoxy, it is only by a hairbreadth, 
though the divergence is undoubtedly in a dangerous direction. 
It certainly delights in scholastic distinctions and startling 
paradoxes, and in detached passages speaks as if a believer's 
moral conduct were of no account \ but these passages are to 
some extent modified by others, and its apologists affirm that 
the difference lies more in the statement of truth than in the 
truth itself. Still the Church was merciful in its judgment. 
It condemned the book \ it did not depose the men who were 
known to have imbibed its sentiments. There have been 
Assemblies, both before and since, which would not have 
made such a distinction. Even afterwards, when the Marrow 
Men not only professed openly their admiration of a book 
which the Church had condemned, but ventured to challenge 
the orthodoxy of the Church itself, they were only rebuked. 
To have done anything, the Assembly could not have done 

But it has been affirmed, that it w T as because the Church 
had become latitudinarian that it hated the " Marrow ;" and 
that this latitudinarianism is to be traced to the admission of 
so many of the Prelatic curates into the ecclesiastical courts. 
They who make such a statement have mistaken the spirit of 
that time. The old jealousy between the Episcopalian and 
the Presbyterian had not yet died out. There were curates in 
the Church, but they exercised no influence in it. When 
they appeared before an ecclesiastical court, it was generally 
that they might be deposed for some alleged misdemeanour. 
At the very time the Marrow controversy was raging, the 
Episcopalians were under the ban for their connection with 
the still recent rebellion, and bitter things were everywhere 
said of them. To suppose that such men had such influence 
as to turn the Church out of the old doctrinal paths is sheer 
nonsense. Wodrow was at that very time publishing his 
1 Acts of Assembly pp. 548-56. 




History of the Church's Sufferings, and Wodrow was against 
the Marrow Men, though the personal friend of some of 
them ; — was the leaven of Episcopacy working in him ? In 
one Assembly only four men, and in another only five, could 
be found to side with Boston, notwithstanding Boston's great 
reputation, so that if a defection there were, it must have been 
very sudden and very complete. We shall come nearer the 
truth by ascribing the movement to an actual zeal for the 
purity of doctrine, though men may still differ as to whether 
that zeal was according to knowledge. It must be admitted 
that to most men, not trained in theological subtleties, the 
book has an ugly look by reason of its excessive Paulinistic 


The decision of the Assembly in 1722 did not terminate the 
Marrow controversy. It continued to break out at intervals 
in different parts of the country, showing that though the fire 
had been quenched it continued to smoulder. On more than 
one occasion it came under the notice of the Church Courts. 1 
In 1727, Boston published a new edition of the obnoxious 
treatise with very copious and elaborate notes, under the 
feigned name of " Philalethes Irenaeus." We cannot doubt 
but that he and his brethren spoke their sentiments freely in 
their pulpits. But after this the judicatories wisely let them 
alone ; the animosity which had been excited gradually de- 
cayed ; and again the Church had peace. 2 

The principal subject of discussion in the Assembly of 1724 
was the constitution of the Commission. That court is re- 
garded by many even still as of illegitimate birth and doubt- 
ful authority. It is recognised in no act of parliament as a 
judicatory of the Church. When King James VI. was press- 
ing on his Episcopal schemes, he got the Assembly persuaded 
to appoint a committee to manage the affairs of the Church in 
the interval of its sessions ; and he soon brought this commit- 

1 See Boston's Memoirs, pp. 377-83. Acts of Assembly, p. 565. 

2 History may stoop from her elevated position to notice that the Lord 
High Commissioner's dinners first began to acquire celebrity this year. 
Wodrow specially remarks that the Earl of Hopetoun, the Royal Com- 
missioner, kept a plentiful board, and was greatly liked. See Corres- 
pondence, vol. iii. 


tee completely under his influence. It passed every measure 
he proposed. It smoothed by every possible means the way 
for the introduction of Episcopacy. It was tauntingly called 
the " king's led horse." It was certainly the college of cardi- 
nals out of which the Scottish popes were generally chosen. 
This was the rudimental form of the Commission. 

In the period between 1638 and 1650, when the triumphant 
Covenant was dragging everything at its chariot-wheels, the 
General Assembly annually appointed a Commission, which 
always consisted of a specified number of the most eminent 
ministers and distinguished barons who favoured the good 
cause. The Commission thus constituted soon rose into 
dangerous pre-eminence. It wielded all the powers of the 
Assembly for eleven months of the year. It defied parlia- 
ments, browbeat kings, prescribed terms of peace and war, 
ordered all things. It had not been in existence long till 
Baillie noted that it was like to become formidable. 1 When 
Cromwell put his iron foot on the Assembly, he crushed th& 
Commission too, as a man would crush the parent and its 

After the Revolution, when the Assembly began again to 
meet, it remembered its ancient custom, and nominated a Com- 
mission to manage such affairs as it chose to entrust to it. 
The members of this Commission were yearly specified in an 
act of the Assembly \ and with some men it became an object 
of ambition to be among the chosen number. During the 
reign of Queen Anne, when the Tories were in power, and 
Episcopal counsels in the ascendant, there was some talk of 
questioning its legality. Though the period of the Assembly's 
session was not yet limited to ten days, it could not be very 
protracted \ and if the Commission were removed out of the 
way, it was thought the Assembly would be shorn of one-half 
of its strength. When churchmen were called to contemplate 
this possibility, they could plead no act of parliament for their 
court \ but they argued that the sovereign had frequently 
owned it as lawful, by receiving addresses from it, sending it 
answers, and giving sanction to its acts ; and that, by the Act 
of Union, the Church's privileges, as well as its judicatories, 
were preserved. 2 

1 " The Commission from the General Assembly," says he, "which 
before was of small use, is like to become almost a constant judicatory, 
and very profitable, but of so high a strain that to some it is terrible 
already." (Vol. ii. p. 55.) 

2 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 136. 



So things continued till the time at which we have now 
arrived. But every year some men who fancied they ought to 
have been put upon the Commission found themselves over- 
looked ; and every year such men were ready to find fault with 
things the Commission had done. In the Assembly of 1724, 
there was a host of grumblers against the Commission, and a 
host of complaints against its procedure. This led to a dis- 
cussion about its constitution. It was maintained that as con- 
stituted it was not a fair representation of the Church ; that 
some men were constantly upon it, others never. Several new 
plans were proposed. It was urged by some that the presby- 
teries should choose the members of the Commission ; but 
when this was first mooted, Mr Dundas of Arniston, then Lord 
Advocate, declared that a Commission so chosen would be a 
new Assembly, and not a Commission ; and that while the 
Church had the king's connivance for its Commissions as 
hitherto constituted, it need no longer expect it if they were 
to be so altered. Others proposed that the Assembly's com- 
mittee for choosing the Commission should be limited to 
lists given in by the synods at the Assembly; but it was 
argued that if this plan were adopted, and the committee had 
no power to alter these lists, there was no need of a commit- 
tee at all. A third plan was that the committee of the 
Assembly for nominating the Commission should be made up 
of one out of every presbytery, chosen by the members of the 
synod at the Assembly, and it was urged that a committee so 
constituted would choose a Commission which would fairly 
represent the whole Church; but arguments were found 
against this proposal too. A fourth plan was, that the Com- 
mission should just be the members of the Assembly turned 
into a Commission. "This was easily answered," says Wod- 
row, "and was scarcely insisted on." l What were the argu- 
ments which were brought against it he does not inform us ; 
but it is certain that it is in this way the Commission is now 
constituted, and no practical inconvenience is found to result. 2 
There were, in fact, so many objections to every plan that was 
proposed, that the discussion ended in nothing but the ap- 
pointment of a Commission, filled with new men, elected upon 
the old plan. In this way some grumblers were silenced. 
There was a secret dread that if the Commission were altered, 
it might fall to pieces in the process. 

1 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 134, 135. 

2 One additional member is named by the Moderator to form the Com- 
mission. The origin and reason of this custom are unknown. 


While the Assembly was sitting, the south country was the 
scene of agrarian outrage. Some of the landholders had begun 
for the first time in our country to enclose their fields, and, to 
accomplish this, were obliged to dispossess some of the 
peasantry of the small plots of ground which they held. They 
were the first of those many ejectments which the country has 
since seen, not so much in the south as the north, and which 
have in a great measure depopulated large districts of the 
Highlands, sometimes to enlarge a farm, sometimes to make 
way for a deer-forest ; and now a clump of trees and a heap of 
stones, ^frequently occurring in every glen, alone remain to 
mark out where was once a happy homestead. 

The truth is, at the time we speak of, the peasant was be- 
ginning to lose his ancient value, and he had not yet acquired 
his new one. He was no longer required to follow his lord to 
battle, or to give dignity to his feudal state ; and it was found 
more profitable to grow corn in fenced fields than to have a 
large retinue of lazy vassals sorning upon the ground and con- 
suming its fruits. The Scottish peasantry of that period w r ere 
not unlike the Irish peasantry of the present day, who hold 
just as many square yards of soil as to grow enough of pota- 
toes to keep themselves and their families alive. They had 
had their little holdings from time immemorial, and never 
dreamt of being dispossessed. Moreover, when ejected, they 
had no market to which to carry their broad backs and brawny 
arms, for trade had not yet sprung up, and they saw nothing 
but starvation for themselves and their little ones. They con- 
gregated in crowds, threw down the enclosures, killed the 
cattle, and frightened the lairds. The Presbytery of Kirk- 
cudbright attempted to quell this riotous disposition by read- 
ing a paper from their pulpits, in which they animadverted not 
only upon the violence of the peasantry, but upon the provo- 
cation given them by the proprietors. The attention of the 
Assembly was called to the document, and the presbytery 
were enjoined to be cautious in the warnings which they gave, 
and to impress upon the people the sin of their levelling pro- 
ceedings. Tranquillity was gradually restored, and the career 
of agricultural improvement entered upon which has made 
Scotland, naturally among the poorest, one of the best culti- 
vated countries in Europe. 

Meanwhile dissensions were springing up among the Epis- 
copalians. Already dissatisfied with the Anglican liturgy, 
which was now generally used in their churches, some began 


to aim at what they considered a more primitive and apostolic 
service. The " First Book of Edward VI." contained some 
rites which were afterwards excluded from the liturgy as 
Romish ; but there always had been men in the English 
Church who regarded these with veneration, and would have 
used them had the law allowed. The majority of the Non- 
juring bishops, cast out of their sees after the Revolution, 
w r ere men of this stamp ; and now that they were no longer 
tied down by acts of parliament, some of them began to prac- 
tise usages which they believed to be sanctioned by the ear- 
liest liturgies of the Christian Church. These usages were — 
i. Mixing the wine with water in the Eucharist: in memory of 
blood and water having issued from the Redeemer's side. 2. 
Commemorating the faithful departed at the altar. 3. Con- 
secrating the elements by an express invocation of the Holy 
Ghost. 4. Using a prayer of oblation, in which the conse- 
crated elements are solemnly offered to God as the body and 
blood of His Son. 

Among the Scotch bishops consecrated after the Revolu- 
tion was the Honourable Archibald Campbell, grand-nephew 
of the Marquis of Argyll who had played such a conspicuous 
part in Covenanting times, .and who had lost his head for 
it at the Restoration — such were the changes in those changeful 
times. This Scotch bishop generally resided in London, as 
he had no diocese to superintend, and no flock to care for. 
To London also came Dr James Gadderar, who had been 
rabbled out of the parish of Kilmaurs. Common sufferings 
begat common sympathies ; Campbell and Gadderar became 
friends \ and as the old Scotch episcopate was dying out, it was 
resolved to recruit it by the consecration of Gadderar. Camp- 
bell, a bishop of the Scotch Church, was already at hand ; 
Falconer, another bishop, happened to come up to London at 
the time; to these was added Hickes, an English Nonjuror; 
and by them Gadderar was invested with the episcopal gift. 
Men learned in the canon law, indeed, said that Falconer and 
Campbell, being Scotch bishops, and without authority to ex- 
ercise their episcopal function in London, could not canonically 
consecrate there, as it was a rule in the Primitive Church that 
no bishop could ordain in another's diocese without his con- 
sent. 1 Men whose learning did not go beyond the time in 
which they lived still farther declared that Hickes was no 
bishop at all, as he had no consecration but what was received 
from three Nonjurors, after they were deprived of their 
1 See Bingham's Antiquities of the Christian Church. 


bishoprics and others put in their place. 1 These things made 
some men think that there was a flaw in the first link of Gad- 
derar's apostolical chain. 

Both Campbell and Gadderar associated with the Nonjurors 
who were attached to the Usages ; they imbibed their opinions, 
and became anxious to have these primitive practices revived 
in their native country. In 1721 some of the clergy of Aber- 
deen invited Campbell to be their diocesan. But Campbell 
appears to have preferred a London life to a life among the 
cold Presbyterian charities of Aberdeenshire, and instead of 
going himself, he sent Gadderar in his place. Before this 
some of the bishops, catching the infection which blew from 
the south, had begun to yearn after what they considered 
higher and more catholic forms of worship. One had begun 
to use the liturgy of Laud. Another had poured a little pure 
water into the Eucharistic wine. A third had added an invo- 
cation to the form of consecrating the elements prescribed in 
the Anglican service. 2 But the arrival of Gadderar in 1722 
gave a fresh impulse to this tendency ; and the Episcopal 
community was soon split into two factions, the Usagers and 

While the few Nonjuring bishops in Scotland and England 
were thus falling out among themselves, they had on hand no 
less a project than a Union with the Eastern Church, which 
stretches out its borders over three continents. A certain 
Arsenius, Metropolitan of Thebais in Egypt, had come to Lon- 
don on a begging expedition ; with him Bishop Campbell had 
fallen in, and the Scotch prelate being of a speculative turn of 
mind, started the subject of a union. Arsenius undertook 
the necessary negotiations, and when he left the country he 
carried with him authoritative proposals from the Nonjuring 
bishops, in which the points both of their agreement and 
disagreement with the Oriental Church were stated. They 
declared that they did not allow the same authority to the 
canons of general councils as to the Sacred Scriptures ; that 
they could not pay any kind of worship to the blessed Virgin ; 
neither could they pray to saints or angels, nor give any reli- 
gious veneration to images, nor worship the host in the 
Eucharistic .sacrifice. Arsenius returned home by way of 
Muscovy, and as a political union might be built on a religious 

1 See Percival's Apology for an Apostolical Succession. Percival argues 
that Hickes was no bishop. 

2 See Skinner's Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. Also Stephen, vol. iv. 


one, the Czar Peter was easily engaged in the scheme. The 
proposals were transmitted to the Eastern Patriarchs, and laid 
before a synod; and in 1721 "The Answers of the Orthodox 
in the East to the Proposals sent from Britain for a Union 
and Agreement with the Oriental Church" arrived. The 
orthodox Orientals, at great length, and with some acrimony, 
vindicated the practices of their Church upon the five points 
of difference, and insisted upon conformity as the foundation 
of union. This document purported to be drawn up accord- 
ing to " a synodical judgment and determination of the 
Eastern Church, after the most mature deliberation of the 
Lord Jeremias, the Most Holy (Ecumenical Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, the new Rome, and the Most Holy and Most 
Blessed Patriarchs, the Lord Samuel of Alexandria, and the 
Lord Chrysanthus of Jerusalem, with the holy metropolitans 
and the holy clergy of the Great Church of Christ in Con- 
stantinople in council assembled, April 12, 1718." 

This answer, though it somewhat damped the hopes of the 
Nonjurors, did not drive them to despair. They drew out a 
reply in Greek, Latin, and English. They supported their 
former positions by arguments from Scripture and the 
Fathers, but all that they asked was, that the Oriental 
patriarchs and bishops would authoritatively declare them 
free in regard to the invocation of saints and angels, the 
worship of images, and the adoration of the host ; if they 
would only do that, a union might yet be effected. This 
reply was despatched to Arsenius, who was still in Moscow, 
by James, Proto-syncellus of the Church of Alexandria. 
Both the Czar and Arsenius were zealous for the union, and 
proposed that two of the British clergy should meet with two 
of the Russian clergy to confer upon the points in dispute. 
But while this was being arranged, a final reply arrived from 
the uncompromising patriarchs. " These doctrines," said 
they, " have been long since examined, and rightly and 
religiously defined and settled by the holy oecumenical 
synods, so that it is neither lawful to add anything to them, 
nor to take anything from them ; therefore they who are dis- 
posed to agree with us in the divine doctrines of the orthodox 
faith must necessarily follow and submit to what has been 
defined and determined by the ancient Fathers, and by holy 
and oecumenical synods, from the time of the apostles and 
their holy successors, the Fathers of our Church, to this time; 
we say they must submit to them with sincerity and obe- 

A.D. 1722-27.] THE USAGERS. 26 


dience, and without any dispute or scruple ; and this is a 
sufficient answer to what you have written." Soon after the 
receipt of this reply, news reached London of the death of 
the Czar, and the project, quixotic from the first, was blasted 
for ever. 1 

But the Scottish bishops, now inhabiting the cold regions 
of dissent, and contemptuously spurned by the orthodoxy of 
the East, became a prey to other dissensions besides those 
to which we have already referred. From the time of the 
Revolution, the bishops who had been consecrated had been 
consecrated to no particular dioceses or even districts. They 
were simply invested with the episcopal office, and they 
together formed an Episcopal College for superintending 
the affairs of the Church, and continuing the succession. 
The secret of this was, that they were waiting to have their 
dioceses assigned them by royal authority when the Stewarts 
were restored. Though the Pretender was now an exile, 
without the shadow of authority in the Island, he was yet in 
the habit of nominating, through his political agent, Lockhart 
of Carnwath, persons to be bishops; and the Episcopal College 
respectfully carried out his wishes, though they could not help, 
on some occasions, intimating that the men he had chosen 
were scarcely suited for the office. 2 

There now arose, especially among the bishops and clergy 
who had adopted the Usages, a spirit of rebellion against this 
system. They said that since the State had cast them off, 
they should cast off the State. The Church should shake 
itself free from all secularism, and assert its independent 
powers, derived from its Great Head. In primitive times, 
every bishop had his own diocese ; let it be so now. In primi- 
tive times, the clergy and people elected their own bishops ; 
let the pious custom be revived. They must not let their 
loyalty to King James make them traitors to the King Jesus. 
In the providence of God they had been made free ; let them 
not insanely hug the manacles they had worn in the days of 
their Egyptian bondage. If they were Erastian once, let them 
be so no more. 

Upon these subjects the Scottish bishops were torn into 
two hostile factions, and neither the efforts of Lockhart nor 
the admonitions of the Pretender could heal the breach. 
The one party were called the College Bishops, the other 

1 Skinner's Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. pp. 634-39. 
- Lockhart's Papers, vol. ii. passim. 


the Usager Bishops ; and every day increased their antagon- 
ism. In 1727 the quarrel reached its height, and there was 
exhibited to the country the unholy spectacle of a Church 
divided against itself, and either faction attempting to out- 
vote the other by the hurried consecration of partisans. 
Within a fortnight, no fewer than five men were thus anointed 
with the consecrating oil. On the 4th of June 1727 the 
College Bishops were four in number — Freebairn, Duncan, 
Ochterlonie, and Rose ; the Usagers were only three — 
Gadderar, Millar, and Cant. But on that day the Usagers 
met by themselves and consecrated Thomas Rattray, a man 
who had already distinguished himself by his advocacy of 
their views, and thus made themselves equal in numbers to 
their opponents. On the nth the College Bishops, to 
maintain their superiority, assembled, and received into their 
number Gillan and Rankin, two men who had been recom- 
mended by the Pretender, and were known to be opposed 
to the Usagers. On the 18th the Usagers, not to be outdone, 
again met, and invested with the episcopal office William 
Dunbar, formerly minister of Cruden, and Robert Keith, 
afterwards distinguished by his valuable " History of the 
Church." "Thus," says Skinner, "the contention between 
the College and those who favoured the restoration of the old 
regular system came to be managed, if not by equal argu- 
ments, yet by equal numbers." x 

But the history of this eventful month does not end here. 
On the 28th the College Bishops again took counsel together, 
and finding that the plan of obtaining an ascendency by new 
consecrations was a game at which both parties could play, 
they changed their tactics. They suspended Millar, who had 
been recognised by the other party as Metropolitan and 
Vicar-General of the Kingdom, from his episcopal functions, 
and followed up this stroke on the next day by declaring 
Rattray and Dunbar to be no bishops. 2 It was the old con- 
tests of Rome about rival popes revived upon a small scale. 
Such wounds were not easily healed; but death at last decided 
in favour of the Usagers. The College Scheme fell into disuse, 
and henceforward every bishop consecrated in Scotland claimed 
to be a diocesan. 

Meantime the Established Church was not free from 

1 Skinner's Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii. pp. 644, 645. See also 
Stephen's History, vol. iv. 

2 Stephen's History, vol. iv. 

A.D. 1726.] HERESY AGAIN. 26 


trouble. Rumours had got abroad that Professor Simson of 
Glasgow, who was before the Assembly of 17 17, charged with 
teaching Arminianism, was now teaching Arianism. This 
heresy, which had been condemned in the Council of Nice, 
and which, for long afterwards, divided the Christian Church, 
had been recently revived in England by Dr Samuel Clarke, 
whose great learning, abilities, and benevolence gave weight 
to his writings. His celebrated treatise, "The Scripture 
Doctrine of the Trinity/' was eagerly read, and admired 
for its scholarship, even by those who condemned it for its 

The contagion of Dr Clarke's heresy reached beyond the 
Tweed, and the Professor of Divinity in the University of 
Glasgow was infected by it. Professor Simson was at this time 
a man of nearly sixty, and in delicate health. He was fond 
of abstruse speculation, and easily led away by opinions which 
wore a philosophic air. But if he had great receptivity, he 
had little tenacity. He had none of the martyr-like devotion 
to his creed which would have led him to die for it. He held 
it with the easy indifference of an Epicurean, who inquires 
rather than believes. His mind, moreover, was acute rather 
than comprehensive, and he was altogether lacking in that 
high principle which gives dignity to character, and calls forth 
admiration even for the erring. He was said also to be some- 
what irritable, and inclined to treat with contempt country 
ministers as men who had never trodden the transcendental 
regions of pure thought. 

Several presbyteries overtured the Assembly of 1726 to in- 
quire into the rumours which were afloat. In accordance with 
these, the General Assembly, through its Committee of In- 
structions, called upon the commissioners from the Presbytery 
of Glasgow to give an account of what they knew about these 
reports, and of what they had done in regard to them. The 
commissioners stated that their presbytery had heard whispers 
of unsound sentiments being uttered from the Divinity Chair 
in their University ; that they had sent two of their number to 
confer with the Professor ; that the Professor had written a 
letter to them acknowledging that he was aware of such 
reports being in circulation, but declaring them to be false and 
calumnious, and stating what it was he had really taught in 
regard to the Trinity. This letter, it was farther stated, had 
been remitted to a committee for consideration, but they had 
not as yet made any report upon it. On hearing this state- 


ment, the Assembly appointed the presbytery to proceed with 
all diligence in their inquiry, and nominated an influential 
committee to correspond with it, and give it their assistance 
in conducting the investigation. 1 

The presbytery and committee were soon at work. Three 
methods of investigation lay open to them : — They might 
question the Professor ; they might examine his letter to the 
presbytery ; they might precognosce the students who had 
attended his lectures. But Simson protested strongly against 
the first method as inquisitorial, and as contrary to the maxims 
of law, which shield a man from being compelled to criminate 
himself. In regard to the second method, the letter was 
capable of bearing different senses, which, as Lord Grange 
remarked, was " the art of teaching heresy orthodoxly." 2 The 
third method was not without its peculiar difficulties too. The 
students in general showed a disinclination to say much. 
They pleaded that they could not remember the very words 
spoken by their Professor after the lapse of a year. We shall 
excuse them more readily when we know that the prelections 
were at that time delivered in Latin ; and though divinity 
students then were much better versed in that language than 
their successors of the present day, it is difficult to believe that 
they could follow the niceties of a metaphysical discussion so 
accurately as they could in their mother-tongue. " Most of 
them," says Wodrow, who was a member of the Assembly's 
committee, " were young, raw lads, who I believe did not 
really understand what Mr Simson had taught." 

The Professor made some explanations, but the presbytery 
were not satisfied w T ith them, and resolved to proceed against 
him by libel; but when the evidence was being led, the 
lawyers, who had now come upon the field, insisted upon the 
students swearing to the ipsissima verba of the Professor, and 
argued that if they did not, they were constituting themselves 
judges and not witnesses, and might be assigning a meaning 
to statements which was never intended. Every inch of ground 
was keenly contested ; every student who had a memory for 
Latin paragraphs, and a metaphysical genius to understand 
them, was unmercifully cross-questioned ; days upon days were 
thus occupied, during which Simson was frequently sick and 
unable to attend ; but before the Assembly met the evidence 
was brought to a close. 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 592. 

2 Wodrow's Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 261. 

a.d. 1727.] simson's arianism. 267 

When at last the month of May 1727 arrived, and the 
Assembly met, the great case that was in dependence was the 
subject of every minister's and every elder's talk, as they paced 
the lobby of St Gile's Church. It was made the subject ol 
the opening sermon ; it exerted its influence upon the choice 
of the Moderator ; it was expected to occupy the greater part 
of the Assembly's time. The principal articles of the libel 
were that Professor Simson had denied the necessary existence 
of the Son ; that he had said the necessary existence and in- 
dependence of the Son were things we know not ; that he had 
affirmed these things were philosophical niceties ; that he had 
taught that the Trinity was not numerically one. Before the 
Court proceeded to consider the relevancy of these articles, 
the Professor protested that he held no opinions contrary to 
the Confession of Faith ; that if necessary existence and in- 
dependency on the part of the Son were to be held relevant, 
they must be inserted in the Standards of the Church ; that he 
had gathered his notions of the Trinity principally from the 
writings of Dr Owen ; that he was afraid some of his brethren 
were tending towards Sabellianism, making the Three Persons 
but modes or relations, which was more to be dreaded than 
Arianism ; that when he delivered the discourse referred to in 
the libel, he was very unwell, under opiates prescribed by his 
physicians ; and that if he used such expressions as were attri- 
buted to him, he now retracted them. He concluded by 
saying that he was now sixty years of age, and had not long to 
live, and that in all his teaching he had had nothing in view 
but the glory of God. 1 

This touching appeal did not soften the hearts of the 
champions of orthodoxy. There were fierce debates regarding 
the relevancy of the different articles of the libel and regarding 
their proof. It was at length held as proven that he had denied 
the necessary existence of the Son, and the numerical oneness, 
in substance, of the Trinity. At this stage in the procedure the 
heretical Professor appeared at the bar, and read a paper con- 
taining his sentiments upon the articles found proven against 
him, in which he expressed himself in such an orthodox manner 
that people remarked he was like Charles I. — he made many 
concessions, but they always came too late. 

So much time had now been spent, and so much yet re- 
mained to be done, that it became evident the trial could not 

1 We have here given the substance of two separate addresses given 
by Simson before the Assembly. 


be brought to a conclusion before the rising of the Assembly. 
It was therefore resolved to remit the matter to the presbytery 
and committee to proceed still further in the case, and ripen 
it for the decision of the next Assembly ; and in the meantime 
to suspend Professor Simson from his functions, in conse- 
quence of what had already been proved. So the matter 
ended for a season ; but the whole Church had been intensely 
excited, and awaited the final issue with breathless suspense. 

The presbytery, assisted by the Assembly's committee, again 
set to work. They considered the articles in the libel which 
the Assembly had not been able to overtake, and pronounced 
them, with one or two exceptions, to be relevant and proven. 
They did more — they broke new ground. They commenced 
a fresh libel, charging the speculative Professor with violating 
the Act of 17 17, and using expressions capable of an Arminian 
signification. They summoned fifteen witnesses to prove it. 
With two libels hanging over his head, how could the unhappy 
man hope to escape ? 

£ Again the month of May came round, and 

again the Assembly met. The excitement was 
now, if possible, greater than before, for it was known a deci- 
sion must be given. George II. was now upon the throne, 
and the Earl of Loudon appeared as his representative. The 
sermon preached at the opening of the Assembly, and the 
sermons preached upon the Sunday before the Lord High 
Commissioner, were full of the great subject which occupied 
everybody's thoughts. When the case was taken up, there 
was a protest lodged on behalf of the University of Glasgow, 
to the effect that no determination of the Assembly should 
affect their rights to judge their own members. After some 
discussion, the protest was received, but the Assembly, never- 
theless, resolved to proceed with its work. Professor Simson 
now appeared at the bar, and gave in a paper, in which he 
strongly declared his adherence to the Westminster Confession, 
and his belief in the necessary existence of the Son, and de- 
clared that he knew not language in which he could assert the 
doctrine more plainly than he did ; but that, if any member of 
the House would state his scruples, he would remove them. 

As the trial proceeded, the too speculative Professor was 
allowed to make an exculpatory defence in regard to his 
alleged denial of the Three Persons being numerically One in 
substance. This done, the discussion broke out again and 
waxed warmer than ever. The finest metaphysical distinctions 


used by Aristotle and the Schoolmen were employed on both 
sides. There were discourses upon the terms homoousian, 
hypostasis, substance, essence. It was urged on the one hand, 
both at the bar and in the House, that Professor Simson had 
denied numerical oneness only in Aristotle's sense of the 
phrase ; that Dr Stillingfleet had used similar language ; that 
the Socinians, whose doctrines were to be avoided, insisted 
greatly upon numerical oneness ; that there was a controversy 
in the days of Athanasius about the " one hypostasis " and the 
" three hypostases," and yet that both parties were regarded by 
Athanasius himself as orthodox \ and finally, that Simson used 
every term that was used by the Confession of Faith. It was 
maintained, on the other side, that Simson's fault lay in apply- 
ing Aristotle's sense of numerical to the Deity, and in applying 
his definition of person to personal unity \ that his deviation 
from sound doctrine was to be inferred from the distinction 
which he made between the Divine substance and the Divine 
essence ; and, in fine, it was asked, in the words of Cromwell 
at the trial of Archbishop Laud, " If the archbishop thinks as 
we do, why does he not speak as we do ? " The Assembly 
finally agreed that there was no exculpation in what had been 
pleaded, but some ground for alleviation, the consideration 
of which they reserved till they should come to their 

This done, the Assembly proceeded to consider Simson's 
refusal to give distinct answers to the Presbytery's interroga- 
tories \ and the whole question of the propriety of putting 
queries to persons who were suspected of heresy, with censure 
annexed to refusal, was opened up. Some members argued 
that the truth should be extracted by any process and at all 
hazards. Others argued that if a course so inquisitorial was 
sanctioned, they might themselves be subjected to a process 
of questioning on account of what they had said in the course 
of the trial. No one would be safe, when on the merest tittle- 
tattle any one might be brought before this inquisition, put to 
the question, and punished if he refused to reply. 

Lord Grange, one of the Senators of the College of Justice, 
who took a profound interest in ecclesiastical arfairs, and of 
whom we shall hear more anon, spoke for an hour on the 
•question. He argued that there was nothing in law or liberty 
against putting queries in cases of suspicion, " unless," said 
he, " we are to have a new law, as we are like to have a new 
gospel palmed upon us." The civil magistrate, he said, had 


power only over men's bodies and estates, and not over their 
opinions, so long as these were buried in their breasts ; and 
therefore the process Super hiquirendis was declared to be a 
grievance in the Claim of Right. But the Church had a law 
of faith, and a right to inquire into the opinions of all its mem- 
bers ; and in vain had the Church any power to inquire, if it 
had no power to censure the obstinate. 

Mr Dundas of Arniston rose to reply to the severely 
orthodox and inquisitorial Lord of Session, who had a strange 
history locked up in his own bosom, if it could only have 
been extracted. He said he would not limit supreme judica- 
tories in extraordinary cases, but he thought it would be very 
hazardous to give such a power to inferior courts — a power 
which might lead to a tyranny worse than was exercised by 
the Inquisition, for even it was restricted by rules. He could 
not believe that the Church of Scotland was warranted by law 
to pry into people's breasts upon mere suspicion. If a man 
had his doubts, as almost every man who reasoned had, it 
were hard to wring these out of him by interrogatories ; and 
while the Church had a clear right to be satisfied of every 
man's faith before she received him as a minister, or even as a 
member, after he was received he ought not to be questioned, 
unless upon some overt act. 

From the way in which the vote was ultimately taken, the 
Church did not give a direct decision upon the important 
point which had been raised ; but the resolution come to was 
thought to imply an abandonment of the right to question a 
man who was suspected of heresy, and punish him if he 
refused to reply ; 1 — a wise and righteous resolution, which 
brought the ecclesiastical into harmony with the civil law of 
the land. 

It still remained for the Assembly to see what heterodoxy 
could be extracted from the papers given in by the Professor. 
He had spoken of the matter and modus of the oneness of 
God ; and this he explained by distinguishing between the 
matter of the Divine perfections, and the modus of the per- 
sonal relations. But the debate ran principally upon the 
necessary existence of the First Cause, as used in the 
Deistical controversy, and how far this was applicable only to 
the Father "being of none," and how far to the Son, as it was 
alleged that Simson had made it personal to the Father. 
Pictet, Damasus, Clarke, Jackson, and Waterland were 
1 Wodrow, Correspondence, vol. iii. 

A.D. 1728.] THE DEBATE. 271 

brought to bear upon the subject. Mr Goldie, afterwards 
well known as one of the leading men of the Church, stood 
forth as the champion of the accused, and adduced passages 
from Athanasius and Eusebius, from Potavius and Sandius, 
from Bishop Bull and Bishop Pearson, in which self-existence 
was taken for the personal property of the Father. The term 
at best, he urged, was ambiguous, and therefore it were hard 
to make its use a subject of censure. Mr Hamilton of Glas- 
gow, and Principal Haddow of St Andrews, on the other 
hand, maintained that words used at first in a good sense by 
the Fathers, were subsequently used in a bad sense ; that at 
the Reformation these ambiguities were laid aside, and Christ 
acknowledged as very God, but that such Arminian writers as 
Curcelleus, Episcopius, and Vorstius, had reintroduced them, 
and infected many of the English divines. They argued that 
in the Deistical controversy necessary existence behoved to 
be essential necessary existence, for Reason knew nothing of 
persons, and Revelation was no argument with Deists; whereas 
Mr Simson had made it personal to the Father. 

This lengthened trial was now drawing to a close. The 
consideration of the proof was finished, and the pleadings 
began. Mr Simson's counsel pleaded that there were twenty- 
seven witnesses to establish his soundness, and only three to 
gainsay it. They brought a proof from Reinerus, who was 
Inquisitor - General, upon the prosecution of heretics, that 
heretics who had heresy proved against them by the oaths of 
witnesses might purge themselves by an oath on the Gospels. 
They cited from history the case of Eusebius of Nicomedia, 
who had a renunciation offered him, and, refusing it, was con- 
demned ; and of Eusebius of Pamphila, who had joined the 
Arians, but who, upon his recantation, was acquitted. As if 
in pursuance of this argument, a member of the Assembly 
was now permitted to ask Mr Simson whether he owned that 
the Son of God was begotten by nature, in opposition to 
fate and co-action ? and whether he believed Christ had all 
the Divine perfections, and necessary existence in particular, 
as a person, as the Son, in the same way as the Father had ? 
To these questions the Professor gave in his answers in 
writing. He declared that it was his constant opinion that 
the Son, as Son and a person, was possessed of all perfections 
and necessary existence in the same way as the Father was, 
and that by His generation, which he believed to be by 
necessity of nature, and not by co-action and fate \ and 


farther, that he believed the oneness of Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost to be numerical. The erring Professor had now 
retracted everything, and declared his belief in language as 
orthodox as could possibly be found. His counsel accord- 
ingly pleaded that, upon retraction, there could be no depriva- 
tion ; that by the common law, heretics, when not obstinate, 
could not be condemned ; and cited Corvinus in support of 
what they said. 

But many members of the Assembly thought differently. 
They said they were to consider not merely what Professor 
Simson now declared to be his belief, but what had been 
proved against him. The minister of Kiltearn said, if the 
prophets and apostles were members of the Assembly, they 
would soon settle the matter, for Paul had said, " If any man 
preach another .gospel, let him be accursed." He thought 
the higher excommunication should be pronounced against 
the unhappy heretic. The minister of Bothkennar quoted 
the verse — " If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let 
him be Anathema Maran-atha." Another minister said that 
though Peter had not gone so far as to deny the necessary 
existence of Christ, he had yet wept bitterly for his sin, and 
there was no such sign of repentancy on the part of Professor 
Simson. Lord Dunmore rebuked these unseemly fulmina- 
tions, and remarked that a judge should not aggravate matters, 
but be as ready to have a culprit vindicated as to have him 

Professor Simson was now no longer a heretic, but still it 
was the almost unanimous opinion of the Assembly that he 
had been a heretic. Moreover, this was the second time he 
had come before the General Assembly charged with heresy. 
What was to be done ? A few would have wished him ex- 
communicated. The great majority were divided between 
deposition and suspension. So strong was the feeling evoked, 
and so angry the threats of a breach in the Church, that the 
Assembly was again compelled to delay a final sentence in the 
case. It was resolved to continue his suspension till next 
Assembly, and in the meantime to have the process printed 
and sent down to presbyteries to have their opinions upon it. 
This resolution was founded upon a narrative, in which it was 
stated that the Professor had given in papers to the Assembly, 
in which he asserted the necessity of the existence and genera- 
tion of the person of Christ, and that the title of Summits Deus 
and the Only True God were equally applicable to the Father 

A.D. 1720.| THE SENTENCE. 273 

and the Son : that the Three Persons in the Godhead were 
one substance or essence in number ; and that therefore his 
sentiments upon these articles were sound and orthodox ; but 
that it had been proved to the Assembly that he had taught 
things inconsistent with these truths, and had neglected many 
opportunities of giving earlier satisfaction to the Church in 
regard to his opinions. 

When the process was thus cast abroad upon the presby- 
teries, very many and different feelings were elicited. Some 
pitied Simson. They said that the points on which he was 
thought to have erred were of a very abstruse nature ; that 
they were not alluded to in the Bible ; that they were not 
determined by the Confession of Faith ; that they were 
debated by orthodox divines ; and besides, that he had now 
retracted every ambiguous expression, and satisfied the most 
rigid as to his soundness in the faith. Others said they had 
no pity for him. He had virtually denied one of the funda- 
mental articles of the Christian creed. His shuffling conduct 
before the Assembly had lowered him instead of raising him 
in their esteem. Every retractation had been wrung from 
him by fear ; and there was reason to think he had done 
violence to his faith to preserve his office. Thus variously 
did men speak and think. 

When the Assembly met in May 1729, it was found that 
only two or three presbyteries wished him continued in his 
office. But there was a considerable division of sentiment as 
to whether his suspension should be made perpetual, and so 
his salary secured to him, or whether he should at once be 
deposed, and so beggared. Simson again made profession of 
his faith ; his counsel was again heard in his defence ; and 
the whole field of controversy, so carefully trodden last year, 
was trodden again. Those who clamoured for deposition 
were told that such a sentence would throw a reproach upon 
the preceding Assembly ; and they were challenged to produce 
from history a single case of an ecclesiastical council proceed- 
ing to extremities against a man who had retracted his errors. 
After a protracted struggle, the Assembly agreed to a resolu- 
tion which amounted to a sentence of perpetual suspension. 
The Divinity Hall of Glasgow was thus delivered from a Pro- 
fessor whose prelections were considered to be dangerous ; 
and the repentant heresiarch was saved from starvation. 1 

1 I have been almost entirely indebted to Wodrow's Correspondence for 
the lengthened account I have given of this trial. I could have no better 



When the sentence was read, and the question put — Did 
the Assembly acquiesce in it? there was profound silence 
over the house for a minute or so ; when Thomas Boston of 
Ettrick rose up and protested against the decision of the 
Assembly as derogatory to the Supreme Divinity of Christ. 1 
By the urgent persuasion of the Moderator, however, the 
stern Athanasian was induced not to insist upon his protest 
being recorded ; and so, after three years of controversy, the 
matter came to an end. 

We have thus minutely traced this trial, because it is one 
of the most memorable in the annals of the Church. It in- 
volved high points of divinity ; it excited intense interest ; it 
brought men of great learning and ability on the field — Had- 
dow, Hamilton, Campbell, Chalmers, Goldie, M'Laurin, 
Boston ; and of the laity, Lord Grange, Lord Dunmore, 
and Mr Dundas of Arniston. 2 No churchman of that day 
towers tall above his compeers, and stands as the representa- 
tive man of his age ; but the debates show that there were at 
that period professors teaching in our universities, and minis- 
ters labouring in our parishes, possessed of vigorous intellect 
and extensive erudition. The archives of ancient councils 
were ransacked, and the pages of forgotten authors explored, 
for matter which might bear upon the subject in debate ; and 
metaphysical points were discussed with a subtlety worthy of 
an oriental synod. It will probably be thought by many that 
some of the debaters on both sides, led by their metaphysical 
bent, entered upon paths unillumined by revelation, arid not 
marked out in the Standards of the Church. These were the 
ancestors and educators of the men who shortly afterwards 

authority. Wodrow was a member of the Assembly's Committee ap- 
pointed to correspond with the Presbytery of Glasgow in prosecuting 
the case. He was present at the three Assemblies before which the case 
was tried, and almost every night wrote home to his wife a most minute 
account of every motion that was made, and of every speech that was 
spoken. His letters, in fact, are so minute as to be tiresome. For two 
years both his head and his heart were quite full of the matter ; and a 
large proportion of the third volume of his correspondence is occupied 
with it. 

1 Boston's Memoirs, Appendix. 

2 It is worthy of note that the Principals of Glasgow, Edinburgh, 
and Aberdeen — Campbell, Hamilton, and Chalmers — favoured Simson. 
Principal lladdow of St Andrews was against him. Haddow was the 
chief opponent of the Marrow Men, and on that account has incurred 
with many the suspicion of heterodoxy ; but his conduct in this case 
should be enough to redeem him. No doubt, zeal for orthodoxy was in 
reality his motive in both instances. 


A.D. 1729.] LORD GRANGE. 275 

arose in our country to found a school of metaphysics which 
is respected over the world ; but the metaphysicians hence- 
forward wisely avoided the dangerous walks of theology. 

We have frequently quoted the name of Lord Grange in 
the case of Professor Simson. He was a correspondent of 
Wodrow's, an elder of the Church, a member of many Assem- 
blies, and was uniformly to be found among the strictest and 
most orthodox of the Presbyterians. Yet this man, listened 
to as an oracle, and almost revered as a saint, was a disguised 
Jacobite, and would retire from the judicatories of the Church 
to the secret conclaves of traitors, or the criminal dissipations 
of London life. Though his real character was never sus- 
pected by the simple-minded ministers with whom he took 
sweet counsel, in the Assemblies, it w r as partly known to the 
watchful Sir Robert Walpole, then at the head of the govern- 
ment, and seems also to have been penetrated by some of the 
rabble ; for on one occasion there was found attached to his 
door a paper, inquiring if he was not a Jesuit and a pensioner 
of the Pope. His domestic life contains a tragedy still more 
marvellous than anything in his public career. His w T ife was 
a termagant ; and many said it was a pity so good a man 
should have such a thorn in the flesh — such a messenger of 
Satan to buffet him. But in 1732 it was announced that his 
lady had died, and her funeral was duly attended, and the 
coffin consigned to the grave. It w r as not till ten years after- 
wards that the mystery was revealed. It was a mock burial. 
The lady, at the instance of her husband, had been seized in 
her own house by a band of Highlanders, hurried about from 
place to place, and at last consigned to St Kilda, one of the 
most lonely of the Hebrides. It was thought that she had 
secrets which it was dreaded she might tell. 1 

One is greatly pleased to find that the Assemblies which 
were so greatly occupied with such high speculations in regard 
to the Trinity, were able to descend from their altitudes, and 
to turn their attention to the practical duties of Christianity. 

1 The letters of Lord Grange, published in the Miscellany of the 
Spalding Club, have fully brought out his character. They form a 
strange contrast to his letters in Wodrow. Boswell in his Tour to the 
Hebrides relates the story ol Lady Grange ; and Dr Carlyle, in his Auto- 
biography, gives us some interesting sketches both of the two-faced lord 
and the tempestuous lady. He speaks as if all the relatives knew of the 
lady's abstraction, and approved of it. Last of all, Dr David Laing com- 
municated to the Society of Antiquaries a letter from the exiled lady, and 
it is published in their Transactions, vol. xi. 


The Royal College of Physicians laid before them a memorial 
regarding the erection of an infirmary in Edinburgh for the 
reception of the diseased poor. In this document they stated, 
that having observed many miserable objects, some of them 
inhabitants of the city, some of them strangers from all corners 
of the kingdom, seeking for health and unable to find it, from 
their inability to procure medicines and medical attendance, 
they had already established a dispensary, where medicine was 
gratuitously dispensed, and where each of them in turn was in 
attendance to give advice. But their medicine and advice, 
they said, were too often unavailing, from the poor objects 
who sought their help having no proper lodgings to shelter 
them, no skilful nurse to wait upon them, no nourishing diet 
to strengthen them. The good physicians therefore proposed 
to erect an infirmary, into which the victims of disease or of 
accident should be received, and carefully maintained and 
ministered unto, till they were thoroughly cured. The pious 
and philanthropic project was at once warmly embraced by 
the servants of the great Master, one of whose highest com- 
mendations was, " I was sick, and ye visited me." They 
ordered a collection to be made in all their churches for for- 
warding the good work. 1 Future Assemblies repeated the 
injunction. The Edinburgh Infirmary rose into being, and 
it has continued from that day to this, like the pool of Bethesda 
in the midst of Jerusalem, the resort of " a great multitude of 
impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving 
of the water. " 

At this period in our history we part company with Robert 
Wodrow ; and in shaking hands with him, and saying adieu, 
we feel as if parting from an old and trusty friend, with whom 
we have travelled over many a mile, and enjoyed many a 
pleasant talk. He was born at Glasgow in 1679. His father 
was Professor of Divinity in the University, and while Robert 
was yet pursuing his academical course he was made librarian 
to the College, and to this may probably be traced his life- 
long devotion to reading and books. Soon after the close of 
his theological curriculum he was chosen minister of Eastwood, 
in the neighbourhood of Glasgow, then a quiet rural parish, 
but now containing the populous suburban burgh of Pollock 
shaws. After seven years of research and toil, he published, 
in 1 72 1 and 1722, his celebrated " History of the Sufferings 
of the Church of Scotland," embracing the period from the 
1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 601, 602. 

A.D. 1734.] WODROW AND HIS WORKS. 277 

Restoration to the Revolution. It has none of the graces of 
composition, it is sadly deficient in that methodical arrange- 
ment which is so essential to history, but it contains a most 
valuable collection of facts, fortified by documents which 
cannot be gainsaid. Soon after its publication it was attacked 
by violent Cameronians and violent Episcopalians, but very 
few of its statements were invalidated, and Bishop Burnet's 
" History of His Own Times," which appeared a few years 
afterwards, confirmed its veracity in every essential particular. 
Few general readers would now wade through its lumbering 
sentences and confused mass of matter, but every student of 
the time will respectfully consult it as an authority of the 
highest value. 

The " History of the Sufferings of the Church " is not 
Wodrow's only work. His " Analecta" is now known to the 
literary world. He was a careful collector of " particular pro- 
vidences," fond of gathering up ancient reminiscences of 
ecclesiastical worthies ; and in that work we have of these full 
store. His " Correspondence," published by the society which 
bears his name, is more valuable still, and lets much light in 
upon the period over which it extends — from 1709 to 1731. 
He took a deep interest in ecclesiastical affairs, and in the 
confidence of private intercourse he freely discusses the topics 
which then agitated the Church. He was a devout attender 
upon the Assemblies. Every May he mounted his horse and 
hied him to Edinburgh, whether he was commissioned by his 
presbytery or not ; and in his letters from the Assembly to his 
wife, written with all the more care that they were to be seen 
by the aged Lord Pollock, one of the confessors of the Church 
in persecuting times, and now no longer able to sit in her 
courts, he gives an account of what was said and done, which, 
though utterly destitute of graphic power, and without even 
vivacity, has yet the freshness and the trueness to life which 
arise from his describing what he himself had heard and seen. 

It is impossible to read his " Correspondence" without pro- 
nouncing him to be a good and worthy man. He had not 
the vigour of mind to shake off the narrow notions which still 
lingered in the Church, and to rise superior to his age; he was 
imbued with the feelings, the prejudices, and superstitions ot 
his day ; he believed in witches, reprobated Prelacy, hankered 
after the Solemn League and Covenant ; but these things did 
not seriously sully his piety or virtue. He died in 1734, in 
the fifty-fifth year of his age, and lies buried in the churchyard 


of Eastwood, where he so faithfully laboured, and was so 
greatly beloved. 

A few years before this, Walter Stewart of Pardovan, whose 
learned " Collections concerning the Worship, Discipline, and 
Government of the Church " are still held to possess some 
authority, was laid in the dust ; and among Wodrow's letters 
there is one to his wife about the erection of a tombstone over 
his grave. In the churchyard of Eastwood this tombstone is 
still to be seen, and not far away from it is a more modern 
and more ornate one, erected in honour of Wodrow himself. 

We must now go back several years, and trace the history 
of patronage from its restoration in 1 7 1 2 , as its presence was 
now beginning to be felt in the Church. In the sixteenth 
century, the battle of Protestantism and Popery was fought 
and won ; in the seventeenth century, the struggle lay between 
Presbytery and Prelacy ; in the eighteenth century, patronage 
and popular rights came into collision, and the contest has 
been obstinately maintained till the present day. 

For nearly twenty years the act restoring patronage re- 
mained almost a dead letter in the statute-book. It was very 
seldom acted upon. The current of feeling in the Church and 
the country was strongly against it, and the patrons seem to 
have had little wish to exercise a power which would have 
made them so obnoxious to both presbyteries and people. 
Moreover, it was still more easy to find parishes for ministers 
than ministers for parishes. With the connivance, if not the 
positive approbation, of the patrons, settlements were generally 
made upon a call from the people, under the supervision of 
the presbytery of the bounds. 1 The few cases in which pre- 
sentations were issued and accepted under the act, showed 
how difficult it was to carry out a law in the face of strong 
public opinion. A Mr Duguid received a presentation to 
Burntisland, and laid it upon the table of the Presbytery of 
Kirkcaldy. When his case was brought before the Commis- 
sion of the Assembly, he ventured to be insolent, and that 
once omnipotent court, not yet sufficiently humbled to be thus 
treated with impunity, stripped him of his license. He after- 
wards took Episcopal orders, and became an active enemy of 
the Church. 2 

But many of the patrons were Jacobites, bitter enemies of 

1 In some cases the patron recommended a person for the vacant parish. 
There are several instances of this in the presbytery record of Perth. 

2 Wodrow Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 459. 

A.I). 1731.] PATRONAGE. 279 

the Presbyterian Church, and some of them took advantage of 
the Patronage Act to keep their parishes vacant. Within the 
six months allowed them by law, they presented a man, who, 
they had reason to know, would not accept of it, and in this 
way gained six months more ; and, by a series of such fictitious 
presentations, well timed, so as to prevent the jus devolution 
taking place, they could keep the benefice in their hands as 
long as they pleased. In the spring of x 7 1 7 a deputation from 
the Church proceeded to London, to lay before the govern- 
ment of George I. the grievances under which they groaned. 1 
Among other things they mentioned the abuse of patronage, 
and a remedy was promised. Accordingly, in 17 19, in the act 
passed for altering the Abjuration Oath, which had been a 
source of such contention for many years, there was a clause 
inserted to the effect, that unless the presentee accepted the 
presentation, the six months allowed by law to the patron 
were not to be regarded as interrupted, and at their close the 
power was to pass to the presbytery. 

It was thought that this clause might be in the hands of 
the Church a two-edged sword, and cut two ways. It was 
thought that if stretched to the uttermost it might ease the 
Church not merely of sham presentations, but of patronage 
altogether. Could not the Church forbid its ministers and pro- 
bationers, under the highest spiritual penalties, to accept of 
presentations? Could it not strip them of their license, 
depose them, excommunicate them, if they were guilty of any 
such sinful compliances? Such extremities were certainly 
talked of, not only in private, but in the Courts of the Church ; 
and Willison declares in his " Testimony," " that there was no 
man that presumed to take, accept, or make use of a presen- 
tation for several years after this act was passed ;" 2 and when 

1 The Diary of the Rev. William Mitchell, one of the members of this 
deputation, is now printed in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. i., 
and it gives us an interesting peep at the state of parties. There is a 
curious anecdote told in the Diary, worth repeating. At an interview 
which the deputation had with the Prince and Princess of Wales, the 
Princess, wishing to be polite, said, " Gentlemen, I am sorry your Church 
has grievances ; I hope they do not hurt you much ; but I beg your 
pardon, I should have said your Kirk.'' 

8 Willison's Testimony, p. 48. In a petition presented to the General 
Assembly in 1732, regarding licentiates accepting presentations, the follow- 
ing passage occurs : — " It is therefore earnestly desired that the General 
Assembly may seasonably interpose in the way they shall judge most 
proper, to give an effectual check to such dangerous practices of ministers 
and probationers of this Church, and that none be licensed or ordained who 
favour this course." See Struthers's History, vol. i. p. 603. 


men did begin to accept of unconditional presentations, it is 
certain that more than one licentiate was degraded for having 
" had the assurance" to do so. 1 Some have thought that had 
the Church vigorously followed up this system, putting forth 
her spiritual powers to paralyse unpopular presentees, patron- 
age itself would soon have sunk into decrepitude. But this is 
more than doubtful. In an order of men so numerous as the 
clerical, there must always have been diversities of character 
and opinion, so that patrons would have no difficulty in find- 
ing needy probationers ready to accept a living at all hazards ; 
and the Church Courts would probably have been soon 
checked by the law courts had they attempted to punish even 
by spiritual censures men whose only crime was obedience to 
the law. 

From the year 1649 ft was customary for the congregation 
to show their approbation of the person selected by the session, 
by giving him a formal call to be their minister. Even after 
the restoration of patronage, this call was regarded as more 
essential to a settlement than a presentation. Between 1712 
and 1730, there were many settlements without presentations; 

1 Dr Robert Burns of Paisley, in his examination before the Patronage 
Committee of the House of Commons, said, " They (the Church) saw that 
by this act the acceptance of presentations within six months was necessary 
to its being sustained, and they prohibited licentiates from taking pre- 
sentations. In the year 1725, I find Mr George Blaikie deprived of his 
license for taking a presentation. " Dr Burns said that he made this state- 
ment on the authority of the records of the Presbytery of Haddington. If 
he be correct in this, Blaikie must have been restored, and that only to 
give fresh trouble to the Church, for in 1736 he appeared before the Pres- 
bytery of Auchterarder as a presentee to M adder ty, when the following 
interesting minute occurs : — 

"The Presbytery having removed the said Patrick Murray and John 
Richardson, and considering the above presentation, acceptance, and 
demand, judge that the said presentation and acceptance can lay no founda- 
tion even in lazv for Mr Blaikie* s settlement at Madderty, if proper evidences 
are not produced in due time before them of his qualifications according to 
law and Acts of Assembly ; always reserving to themselves full power to 
judge anent the settlement of Madderty, according to the rules and prac- 
tice of this Church ; and further agree, that all others having interest in 
that paroch be apprised of what is this day laid before the presbytery, and 
therefore appoint Mr John Drummond to write the heritors of the paroch 
of Madderty in this affair betwixt and next presbytery, and to lay Mr 
Blaikie 's conduct before the very Rev. the Presbytery of Perth, that they may 
take to consideration the irregular steps he has taken, and his direct crossing 
the rules of this Church with respect to the settling of vacancies " 

Wodrow mentions the case of a presentee to Foulis, who was stripped of 
his license for the same crime by the same Presbytery of Auchterarder, 
which thus early began to acquire its anti-patronage celebrity. 

A.D. 1781.] THE CALL. 28 I 

no case is known of a settlement without a call. In 1724 the 
Crown presented to Lochmaben, but the people were not 
satisfied with the presentee ; and when two competing calls 
came up before the Assembly, it was thought most judicious 
to set both aside, and to this the Lord Advocate gave his con- 
sent. In 1726 a presentation to Tvvynholm was disregarded, 
and the man who had the voice of the people inducted in pre- 
ference to the man who had the presentation of the patron. 
About the same time a case occurred in Aberdeen, which 
shows still more strikingly the sentiments then prevalent in the 
Church. The town-council and a minority of the elders gave 
a call to a Mr Chalmers to be their minister; the majority of 
the session gave a call to a Mr Ogilvie. The case was 
appealed to the Assembly, and in the debate which ensued, 
Lord Grange reasoned at great length against the settlement of 
ministers upon a call merely from heritors and elders, or, in the 
case of burghs, from magistrates and elders. He said this was 
not ecclesiastical law \ that to find ecclesiastical law they must 
go back to the Act of Assembly 1649. The Lord Advocate 
and Lord Cullen, in reply, condemned the Act 1649, and 
urged that the Act 1690 must regulate the use and practice of 
the Church. It was finally agreed that a new call should be 
moderated, so that the wishes of the heads of families might be 
seen. 1 

When the new call was moderated, a hundred and thirty- 
nine heads of families voted for Chalmers ; three hundred and 
seven against him. But it appeared that the majority of the 
communicants, besides the magistrates and elders, were in his 
favour ; and therefore the Commission of Assembly sustained 
his call, and proceeded to his settlement. It was a new point 
— a call from the magistrates, session, and communicants, in 
opposition to a call from the majority of families — and it was 

1 Wodrow Correspondence, vol. iii. pp. 197-99. The highest legal 
authorities of that day seem never to have doubted the legality of the call 
— that it formed, in short, a necessary step toward the induction of a 
minister. This opinion seems to have been founded on the idea that the 
Act 1690 was not repealed by the Act 1712. So able a lawyer and so 
accurate a historian as Mr Hill Burton holds the same opinion in our own 
day. "But what seems chiefly to be overlooked," says he, "in this 
measure (the Patronage Act of 17 12) is, that it left untouched the real 
popular element, whether of call or veto. Whatever privilege of this kind, 
by the law of the Church, the congregation possessed by the Act 1691 
(1690 ?), was left uninjured by the Act of 1711 (1712?)." (History of 
Scotland, vol. ii. p. 55.) This was also the view taken by some of the 
judges in the Auchterarder case. 


carried up to the Assembly of 1726. After some keen discus- 
sion, the Assembly " disapproved of the Commission's pro- 
ceedings, in the settlement of Mr Chalmers at Aberdeen, upon 
these grounds, that they had acted disagreeably to the instruc- 
tions of last Assembly, particularly in not making due inquiry, 
and not having had due regard to the inclinations of the 
people." Some of the more violent members of the court 
wished the induction made null ; but the Assembly, though it 
had disapproved of its Commission's proceedings, refused to 
quash what it had done. 1 

Though there was not a single voice at this period raised on 
behalf of unrestricted patronage, two parties were already 
beginning to range themselves in hostile ranks, and to fight 
their battles in the Courts of the Church. The one party con- 
tended that the call should be signed only by the heritors and 
elders ; the other maintained that it should proceed from the 
whole heads of families belonging to the congregation. The 
former made the Act of 1690 their rallying cry; the latter the 
Act of 1649. The former were the Moderates of their day; 
the latter were the popular party, and went so far as to main- 
tain the divine right of popular election. 

When the Church was thus split into factions, the Church 
Courts were by no means uniform in their decisions. In 
presbyteries and synods, sometimes the one party had the 
majority, sometimes the other; and their sentences were 
dictated by their partisan opinions. But the superior courts 
not unfrequently reversed the decisions of the inferior courts. 
Thus, it sometimes happened that the General Assembly or 
its Commission ordered a presbytery to induct a man whom 
they had already resolved not to induct, on account of the 
opposition of the people. In such cases, it was not unusual for 
the ministers to allege scruples of conscience : they would not 
violate their convictions of duty ; they would take no part in 
forcing a hireling upon the flock ; they would obey God rather 
than man. What was to be done? Must the Assembly 
succumb to the presbytery ? Must the law give way to indi- 
vidual scruples ? To attempt to compel men in such a mood, 
and backed by popular feeling, to execute the sentences of the 
supreme court was hazardous ; a schism would be the result. 
To yield to them was to allow an obstinate minority to concuss 
the majority into their measures. 

In these difficult and delicate circumstances, the Assembly 

1 Wodrow Correspondence, vol. iii. 


hit upon an expedient by which their sentences might be exe- 
cuted without any violation of the scruples of presbyteries. 
They appointed a committee of their own number, or perhaps 
of ministers belonging to the synod within the bounds of which 
the vacant parish lay, to execute their sentence by inducting 
the obnoxious presentee, allowing any member of the pres- 
bytery who chose to take part in the solemn act. These were 
soon stigmatized as " riding committees," because they were 
regarded as designed to override the objections of both pres- 
byteries and people. The practice was denounced as uncon- 
stitutional, and it was a pity that such an expedient was 
required \ but still what else could be done ? We must 
suppose that the Assembly came to its decisions quite as 
conscientiously as presbyteries ; it could not be expected to 
resile ; and if, for the sake of peace, it did not peremptorily 
insist upon that subordination which is essential to the right 
government of every community, whether civil or ecclesi- 
astical, it must employ the willing to do the work of the 

The Assembly had made several attempts to put an end to 
such disturbances by an act regulating calls, but all such 
attempts had hitherto been abortive. At length the attempt- 
was destined to succeed ; but success was purchased by a 
schism which has not yet been healed. In 1731 an overture 
was laid before the Assembly, to the effect that, in all cases 
where the filling up of vacant parishes devolved upon presby- 
teries, they should proceed upon a call from the heritors, being 
Protestants, and the elders. According to the provisions of 
the Barrier Act, this overture was transmitted to presbyteries 
for their opinion, with a notification that if they should neglect 
to send up their opinions upon it, the overture would never- 
theless be laid before the next General Assembly, to be passed 
into a standing act or not, as it should see cause. 1 This over- 
ture had an importance which at first sight does not appear, 
from the fact that as yet few patrons availed themselves of 
their right, and that the great majority of parishes were fur- 
nished with ministers under the direct supervision and con- 
trol of the presbyteries. 

When the Assembly met in 1732, and the returns of the 
presbyteries were examined, it was found that eighteen 2 pres- 

1 Struthers's History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 597. 

2 Struthers says eighteen ; M'Crie, the editor of the Wodrow Corres- 
pondence, and others say six. 


byteries were in favour of the overture as it stood ; that twelve 
were in favour of it with certain alterations ; that thirty-one 
were against it ; and that eighteen had made no return at all. 
What was to be done ? The one party argued that, if the 
twelve were added to the eighteen, there were thirty presby- 
teries in favour of the overture ; and as all presbyteries had 
been certified that their silence would be construed into 
consent, the eighteen which had made no return must be com- 
puted too, so that there were forty-eight against thirty-one. 
The other party, by a simpler and more legitimate arithmetic, 
maintained that there were only eighteen for the overture, and 
thirty-one against it ; that the others could not be counted on 
either side ; and that so the overture must be thrown out by 
the vote of the whole Church. 

The fate of the overture was to decide whether the call was 
to be restricted to the heritors and elders, or whether it was 
to be extended to every head of a family \ and therefore it 
brought into violent collision the two parties who divided the 
Church. Ebenezer Erskine, already distinguished among 
the Marrow Men, took a conspicuous part in the debate. 
" What difference," he exclaimed, " does a piece of land 
make between man and man in the affairs of Christ's king- 
dom, which is not of this world ? Are we not commanded 
in the Word to do nothing by partiality ? whereas here is the 
most manifest partiality in the world. We must have ' the 
faith of our Lord Jesus Christ,' or the privilege of His 
Church, ' without respect of persons ; ' whereas by this act we 
show respect to the man with the gold ring and the gay 
clothing, beyond the man with vile raiment and poor attire. 
I conceive, Moderator, that our managements and acts should 
run in the same channel with God's way, not diverging. 
We are told that i God hath chosen the poor of this world, 
rich in faith.' It is not said that He hath chosen the heritors 
of this world, as we have done \ but He ' hath chosen the 
poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom/ 
And if they be heirs of the kingdom, I wish to know by what 
warrant they are stripped of the privileges of the kingdom." x 
Notwithstanding this appeal, the overture was passed into an 

It ordained that when a parish was vacant, and the patron 
delayed or declined to present the heritors and elders in land- 
ward parishes, and the town-council and elders in burghal 
1 Thomson's History of the Secession Church, p. 37. 

A.D. 1731.] EBENEZER ERSKINE. 287 

parishes, should at a meeting of presbytery, and in the face of 
the congregation, give a call to some one to be their minister; 
that the person thus elected should then be proposed to the 
congregation, to be either approved of or disapproved of by 
them ; and that, in case of disapproval, the presbytery should 
give judgment upon their reasons, and determine the matter. 
This rule was to be observed till it should please God in His 
providence to relieve the Church of the grievance of patron- 
age. 1 By most people this would now be regarded as a 
liberal measure in the circumstances ; but not so then. It 
was in vain pleaded that it was a return to the Act of 1690, 
which had regulated the settlement of parishes previous to 
the imposition of patronage. This was not enough for men 
who believed that every man had a divine right, given him by 
Christ, the Head of His Church, to choose his own minister. 
The irritation spread over the country; arguments first used in 
the Assembly were afterwards repeated in the pulpit; and men 
who were heard with impatience by their brother ministers, 
were listened to with trembling attention by crowded congre- 
gations, who regarded them as oracles. Foremost amongst 
these was Ebenezer Erskine, about whom it is time we should 
know something. 

Ebenezer Erskine was born at Dryburgh in 1680, and the 
pilgrim to the tomb of Sir Walter Scott, in wandering among 
the ruins of the venerable abbey, now stumbles upon a 
simple stone, recently erected, on which are engraven the 
names of Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine, two of a family of 
fifteen children, whom the proud house of Mar need not be 
ashamed to acknowledge as scions. In 1703 he was ordained 
minister of Portmoak, a quiet rural parish in Kinross-shire, 
stretching along the beautiful margin of Lochleven, and 
guarded on the north by the lofty Lomonds, which rise like 
two huge pyramids from the plain. Here he lived and 
laboured for twenty-eight long years. In every question 
which agitated the public mind, he was on the popular side. 
He was a Nonjuror, he was a Marrow Man, he was an anti- 
patronage man. His talents were above mediocrity, and 
when preaching he had a grave, impressive manner, which 
gave weight to his sermons, which were always simple and 
always scriptural. The sacramental gatherings begun by the 
Remonstrants were then at their height, and a minister's 
popularity was tested by the numbers who congregated 
1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 620, 621. 


around his tent at a communion season. At Eastwood, 
where Wodrow was minister, there were about three hundred 
of the parishioners communicants ; but it was no uncommon 
thing for twelve hundred persons to take their place at the 
tables. Wodrow, like a good and wise man, lamented this, 
but declarer] himself powerless to prevent it. 1 At Portmoak 
the concourse was greater still. Wine was generally ordered 
for two thousand communicants. 2 In 1731 Erskine was 
translated from Portmoak to Stirling, where he had a wider 
field of ministerial usefulness. Thus far have we traced his 
history — the simple history of a country minister — and so far 
well; but perhaps before his course is run we shall be inclined 
to think that his notions were narrow, and that, when the 
Church was beginning to shake herself free from the bigotry 
and intolerance of the preceding century, Ebenezer Erskine 
tenaciously clung to them, and was behind his age rather than 
before it. 

The " Act anent the Planting of Churches" was passed, 
and the Assembly dissolved. But the battle, instead of being 
ended, was but begun. Full of the subject, and nettled by 
defeat, Ebenezer Erskine, on the very first Sunday after he 
reached home, mounted his pulpit and preached a declama- 
tory sermon, in which he asserted the divine right of the 
people to elect their pastors, and declared " that those pro- 
fessed Presbyterians who thrust men upon congregations, 
without the free choice their great King had allowed them, 
were guilty of an attempt to jostle Christ out of His govern- 
ment, and to take it on their own shoulders." Not satisfied 
with preaching this sermon, the apostle of popular rights imme- 
diately published it, and in the preface applied his sentiments 
to the obnoxious Act of Assembly. 3 

But it was not long till he had a more prominent place to 
utter his opinions. In the preceding spring he had been 
chosen Moderator of the Synod of Perth and Stirling, and, 

1 "We have many irregularities," says he, in one of his letters, "at 
the celebration of that holy ordinance, that cannot be yet rectified — at 
least not soon, especially here. I lie in the neighbourhood of the city of 
Glasgow, and we have confluences and multitudes. Perhaps I may have 
about three hundred of my own charge who are allowed to partake ; and 
yet we will have a thousand, sometimes eleven or twelve hundred, at our 
tables. I am obliged to preach in the fields a Sabbath, or more some- 
times, before our sacrament, and a Sabbath after it. We must bear what 
we cannot help." (Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 452.) 

2 Thomson's History of the Secession Church. 

3 Sir Henry Moncreiff's Life of Dr Erskine, Appendix. 

A.D. 1732.] THE SYNOD SERMON. 287 

according to custom, required to preach at the opening of the 
autumn meeting in Perth. In such circumstances he believed 
himself bound " to cry aloud and spare not." He gave out as 
his text, " The stone which the builders refused is become the 
head stone of the corner." " There is a two-fold call," said he, 
" necessary for a man's meddling as a builder in the Church 
of God ; there is the call of God and of His Church. God's 
call consists in qualifying a man for His work ; inspiring him 
with a holy zeal and desire to employ these qualifications for 
the glory of God and the good of His Church. The call of 
the Church lies in the free choice and election of the Christian 
people. The promise of conduct and counsel in the choice 
of men that are to build is not made to patrons, heritors, or 
any other set of men, but to the Church, the body of Christ, 
to whom apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers 
are given. As it is the natural privilege of every house or 
society of men to have the choice of their own servants or 
officers, so it is the privilege of the house of God in a par- 
ticular manner. What a miserable bondage would it be 
reckoned for any family to have stewards or servants im- 
posed on them by strangers, who might give the children a 
stone for bread, or a scorpion instead of a fish, poison in- 
stead of medicine? And shall we suppose that ever God 
granted a power to any set of men, patrons, heritors, or 
whatever they be — a power to impose servants on His family 
without His consent, they being the freest society in the 
world?" Warming w T ith his subject as he approached the 
peroration, he exclaimed, " A cry is gone up to heaven 
against the builders by the Spouse of Christ, like that Cant. 
v. 7, ' The watchmen that went about the city found me ; they 
smote me, they wounded me ; the keepers of the walls took 
away my veil from me.' A cry and complaint came in before 
the bar of the last Assembly, for relief and redress of these 
and many other grievances, both from ministers and people. 
But instead of a due regard had thereunto, an act is passed 
confining the power of election unto heritors and elders, 
whereby a new wound is given to the prerogative of Christ 
and the privileges of His subjects. I shall say the less of this 
act now that I had opportunity to exoner myself with relation 
to it before the National Assembly when it was passed. Only 
allow me to say, that whatever Church authority may be in 
that act, yet it wants the authority of the Son of God. All 
ecclesiastical authority under heaven is derived from Him . 


and, therefore, any act that wants His authority has no autho- 
rity at all. And seeing the reverend synod has put me in this 
place, where I am in Christ's stead, I must be allowed to say 
of this act what I apprehend Christ himself would say of it, 
were He personally present where I am ; and that is, that by 
this act the corner-stone is receded from ; He is rejected in 
His poor members, and the rich of the world put in their 
room. If Christ was personally present, where I am by the 
synod's appointment in his stead, He would say in reference 
to that act, ' Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least 
of these little ones, ye did it to me.' " l 

This was certainly strong language, and must have fallen 
offensively on many unwilling ears. Was Erskine justified 
in speaking as he spoke in the place where he stood ? Some 
thought then, and some think still, that he was. It was the 
custom of the time to discuss such topics in the pulpit. Knox 
did it, Melville did it, Henderson did it, Erskine's compeers 
did it. Others have held that it was, to say the least of it, 
indecent to take advantage of the position to which his brethren 
had voluntarily raised him to speak sentiments so obnoxious 
to them, and in a place where there was no room for a reply. 
If he wished to disburden his conscience, he had an oppor- 
tunity of repeating the arguments he had used on the floor of 
the Assembly, on the floor of the synod, and then he would 
have found men ready to face him. Others went farther, and 
held that he had sinned against the Church of which he was a 
minister, by using such condemnatory language in regard to 
its laws. 

So thought the minister of Logierait, who, at the afternoon 
meeting of the synod, rose up and said that Mr Erskine in 
his sermon had spoken some things which had given offence 
to the brethren, and moved for inquiry. He was immediately 
seconded, and the matter was intrusted to a committee, to 
prepare it for the consideration of the court. Next day this 
committee laid upon the synod's table some of the passages 
in the sermon which they considered as disrespectful to the 
Church. For three days the subject was warmly discussed ; 
but at length, by a majority of six votes, the synod found its 
recent Moderator deserving of censure. Erskine appealed to 
the ensuing Assembly, and a number of ministers and elders 
showed their sympathy by dissenting from the judgment. 2 

1 The sermon will be found in the Appendix to the 1st volume of Gib's 

2 Notwithstanding this decision, the Synod of Perth and Stirling 

A.D. 1733.] casf or KINROSS. 289 

But we must now turn our attention to another little history, 
which helped to aggravate public discontent. A Mr Stark 
had been settled in the parish of Kinross, in opposition to the 
wishes of a majority both of the people and the presbytery. 
The result of this was, that the people flocked to other parishes 
to receive the sacrament, and the presbytery refused to enrol 
Mr Stark as a member of their court. The matter came up 
before the Assembly of 1732, and the presbytery was en- 
joined to put Stark's name upon their roll, and its members 
were prohibited from admitting his parishioners to Church 
privileges without his sanction. Still the presbytery refused 
to recognise the intruder as a brother, and still the neighbour- 
ing ministers admitted the parishioners of Kinross to the 
sacraments. Such was the state of matters when the month of 
May 1733 came round. 

When the Assembly met, the Marquis of Lothian took his 
seat upon the throne, and John Goldie, one of the ministers 
of Edinburgh, was raised to the Moderator's chair. The cases 
of Stark and Erskine were looked forward to with keen in- 
terest. Stark came first. Sir John Bruce and other parish- 
ioners of Kinross presented a petition complaining that the 
sentence of last Assembly had not been obeyed, and that Mr 
Stark had not yet been admitted a member of the presbytery. 
The members of the Presbytery of Dunfermline — among 
whom was Ralph Erskine, the brother of Ebenezer — were 
accordingly summoned to the bar, and then ordered to retire, 
constitute themselves into a court, and enrol Mr Stark. It was 
reported that the majority were willing to do so. 1 But the 
Assembly, not satisfied with this, was of opinion that their 
mutinous spirit should not go unpunished. It framed an act, 
in which it set forth that their conduct had been utterly incon- 
sistent with the subordination of the Church's judicatories, 
and with the vows of obedience they had taken at their ordi- 

cherished very strong anti-patronage sentiments. At this very time they 
passed a resolution warning licentiates against accepting presentations 
without the concurrence of the people, and ordered that this resolution 
should be read by the presbyteries to their probationers and students. 
This resolution is accordingly entered in the records of the Presbytery 
of Auchterarder, on the 9th of May 1733 ; and then follows this minute 
in regard to some students, who were on their trials : — "The Moderator 
having, in terms of the above act, asked the said students their thoughts 
of patronages and presentations, and they declaring that they look upon 
patronages to be a grievance to this Church, and are resolved to follow 
no practice contrary to the above recommendation, the Presbyter)-," &c, 
1 Struthers's History, vol. i. p. 624. 



nation, and was worthy of the highest censure. It appointed 
them to be rebuked, commanded them to recognise Mr Stark 
as a minister of the gospel, forbade them to admit his parish- 
ioners to ordinances without his consent, and prohibited any 
protest or dissent on their part to be received. 1 

The General Assembly may have erred in intruding Stark 
upon the people of Kinross ; but having done so, they had no 
course open to them but to insist that his name should be 
inscribed upon the roll of the presbytery. The refusal of the 
presbytery can be justified by no maxim known in the Presby- 
terian Church. If such insubordination were allowed, all 
authority would be at an end. Conscience could scarcely be 
pleaded by the recusants, as it too often is in such cases as 
this. They were not asked to ordain Stark as minister of 
Kinross ; that was done already. They were not even asked 
to constitute him a member of the presbytery, for, by the laws 
of the Church, being minister of Kinross, he was already a 
member of the Presbytery of Dunfermline ; they were simply 
required to add his name to the presbytery-roll, and to admit 
him to their meetings. Notwithstanding a positive injunction 
of the Assembly, they refused to do so. 

The policy of the remaining part of the sentence is more 
questionable. Three years before this the Assembly had 
enacted that dissents from the decisions of the Church's 
judicatories should not be inscribed in the records, but 
simply kept by the clerk of court in retentis — an enactment 
which had caused a good deal of grumbling at the time. The 
recusant presbyters of Dunfermline were to be denied the con- 
solation of offering a dissent or protest in any shape. Their 
pent-up feelings were to be refused an outlet. Their reasons 
for doing as they had done — and every man thinks he has 
good reasons for his conduct — were to have no record. This 
made the sentence seem doubly severe. Every church-court 
which values its peace should give an unlimited liberty of 
dissenting and protesting. It will act as a safety-valve. It 
will quietly let off the ill-nature, which might otherwise ex- 
plode. When a man's indignation at the injustice he has 
received is written in the record, and the leaf turned over, it 
does harm to no one. There is no safer place in which it 
could he deposited. 

When Ralph Erskine and his associates were thus rebuked, 
Ebenezer Erskine was placed at the bar. It was very evident 
1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 623, 624. 


that the tide of authority was running strongly against him ; 
but supported by his three friends — William Wilson, one of 
the ministers of Perth ; Alexander Moncrieff, the minister of 
Abernethy; and James Fisher, the minister of Kinclaven — 
he read a paper in which he very clearly and forcibly argued 
his case. He maintained that he was bound to disburden his 
conscience by speaking what he conceived to be the truth ; 
that it was unrighteous to gag the mouth of those whom God 
had ordered to lift up their voice like a trumpet ; that no act 
of Assembly declared the act which had been condemned to 
be a part of the Church's standards, or made it unlawful for 
ministers to preach against it. To imagine all acts of Assem- 
bly, said he, to be standards of discipline, is to enslave our 
consciences to the humours or rash decisions of men. If this 
act be a term of ministerial communion, why not other acts ? 
and so we shall have as many articles of communion as there 
are acts of Assembly. 1 

These were strong arguments, but the Assembly was not 
convinced by them that Erskine had done no wrong. They 
found that the language used by him in his synodical sermon 
" was offensive, and tended to disturb the peace and good 
order of the Church," and appointed him to be rebuked at 
the bar, and rebuked he was. 2 But though Erskine stood the 
rebuke, he did not relinquish the opinions for which he had 
already fought so hard a fight. He left upon the table of the 
Assembly a protest, in which he declared that he still adhered 
to his opinions, and would still declare them. His three 
faithful followers gave in their adherence to his protest, and 
then the four quietly left the Assembly. But the Assembly, 
instead of entering the document in their records, regarded it 
as a defiance of their authority, and summoned the protesters 
again into their presence. A committee was appointed to 
confer with them ; but they resolutely refused to withdraw 
their protest, or unsay a single word they had said. The 
Assembly hesitated to go farther without giving them time for 
consideration, and therefore remitted the case to the Com- 
mission, empowering it, at its meeting in August, to suspend 

1 The paper read by Erskine at the bar of the Assembly is given at 
length in Struthers's History, vol. i. 

2 Acts of Assembly, p. 624. In the minute of Assembly, it is said that 
Ebenezer Erskine was rebuked. In the First Testimony it is said that 
Ebenezer Erskine declared from the bar that he would not submit to a 
rebuke, and at once gave in his protest. (See p. 21.) What are we to 
believe ? 


them from the exercise of their ministry if they did not then 
retract their protest, and express sorrow for their conduct ; 
and proceed to a higher censure in November, if they should 
be found not to have obeyed the sentence of suspension. 1 

The month of August came, and the Commission met. 
The four men who had been censured at the bar of the 
Assembly had, by that very rebuke, been inaugurated as the 
representatives of the popular party in the Church, and the 
sympathies of many were gathering around them. Memorials 
from several presbyteries were presented to the Commission 
in their favour ; but the Commission was unfortunately bent 
upon a rigorous execution of its judicial power. It insisted 
upon a categorical answer to the question — Were they willing 
to retract their protestation, and declare their sorrow for their 
conduct? And it was only after much angry discussion that 
Ebenezer Erskine was allowed to read a paper as his answer, 
in which, instead of expressing regret, he vindicated what he 
had done. " He read it," says Gib, in his " Display of the 
Secession Testimony," " in a very deliberate manner, and with 
a very audible voice ; Mr Archibald Rennie, who was next 
year intruded into the parish of Muckart, holding the candle 
to him, for it was then late." 2 The paper did not sway men 
who were bound both by their instructions and their own con- 
victions to a certain course, and the four brethren were sus- 
pended from all exercise of their ministerial functions. 

November came round, and again the four brethren stood 
at the bar of the Commission. They at once acknowledged 
that they had not obeyed the sentence of suspension; that they 
had preached and administered the sacraments as if no such 
sentence had been passed. Thus things had come to a crisis. 
Numerous petitions urged the Commission to clemency, and 

1 Acts of Assembly, p. 625. 

2 The case of this Mr Rennie was for two or three years before the 
Presbytery of Auchterarder. The presbytery warmly espoused the cause 
of the people of Muckart ; reasoned the matter at great length with the 
Assembly and its Commission, instead of yielding to its order to ordain 
Mr Rennie ; and when Rennie was ordained, after a hard battle, by a 
riding committee, they refused to enrol him as one of their number. After 
his settlement, it was reported to the presbytery that sometimes he had 
not more than three or four parishioners to hear him preach, and that 
"he had met with very uncivil and unchristian treatment." The presby- 
tery very properly declared "its great dissatisfaction with such bad prac- 
tices, and appointed the moderator to recommend to the people of Muckart, 
when called in, to take care that no such thing be done in time coming, 
either by those in the paroch or others." This case occupies a large part 
of the Presbytery of Auchterarder's record about 1733-34. 

A.D. 1733.] THE SECESSION. 293 

it was only by the casting vote of the Moderator that it was 
resolved to obey the injunction of the Assembly, and proceed 
to a higher censure. But before doing so, yet another effort 
was made to obtain such a concession from the contumacious 
presbyters as would save them from being cast out of the 
Church. A committee was appointed to confer with them, 
but they would yield nothing. The question was now put — 
Shall they be loosed from their respective charges, and declared 
no longer ministers of the Church ; or shall they be deposed 
from the office of the ministry ? The former and more lenient 
alternative was adopted. When the sentence was read, seven 
ministers entered their dissent from it, and the four ejected 
brethren presented a protest against what they conceived their 
unrighteous condemnation. They protested that the pastoral 
tie between them and their congregations would not be affected 
by the sentence of the Commission, and that they would still 
hold ministerial communion with such of their brethren in the 
Church as had not given way to the defections of the times. 
They testified against the prevailing party in the Church for 
having declined from Covenanted principles, for having sup- 
pressed 'ministerial freedom, for having expelled them from 
their fellowship. u Therefore/' said they, " we do, for these 
and many other weighty reasons to be laid open in due time, 
protest that we are obliged to make a secession from them, 
and that we can have no ministerial communion with them till 
they see their sins and mistakes, and amend them. And in 
like manner we do protest, that it shall be lawful and warrant- 
able for us to exercise the keys of doctrine, discipline, and 
government, according to the Word of God and Confession of 
Faith, and the principles and constitutions of the Covenanted 
Church of Scotland, as if no such censure had been passed 
upon us; upon all which we take instruments. And we hereby 
appeal to the first free, faithful, and reforming General Assem- 
bly of the Church of Scotland." l 

The Secession from the Church had taken place. The 
four brethren went forth, and as they went they shook the 
dust from their feet. It is strange that a synod sermon, in 
which it was thought there were indecent and undutiful 
expressions, should have been the origin of the Secession 
Church. Had that sermon never been preached, or had it 
never been criticised, the Secession might never have taken 
place. Little incidents beget great results. Both parties got 
1 First Testimony of the Associate Synod, p. 32. 


into a false position, and neither was willing to recede. It is 
certain that in Ebenezer Erskine's sermon there was nothing 
worthy of deposition. It is questionable if there was anything 
deserving of ecclesiastical censure ; but even supposing there 
was, it had been far more prudent for the members of the 
synod to have passed it in silence, and simply taken care that 
their plain-spoken brother had never a like opportunity again 
of abusing them to their face. Scotch ministers had long been 
accustomed to great boldness of speech ; and if a growing 
refinement was beginning to revolt against such pulpit license, 
it might surely have been checked by gentler measures. The 
disease was chronic, the medicine should have been mild. 

But there was yet another blunder on the part of the Church, 
and the last was worse than the first. Erskine and his friends 
bowed themselves to the censure of the Assembly, and only 
desired to comfort their consciences by lodging a protest. 
The Assembly should have overlooked the protest, and let 
the matter end. It may be said that it was an act of high 
contumacy — that in the protest there was an open defiance of 
ecclesiastical authority. It is quite true ; but even General 
Assemblies should make some allowance for irritation or 
obstinacy. What though these men were not yet convinced 
they were in the wrong? what though they declared they 
would continue to denounce laws which they thought to be 
iniquitous ? Were they not punished already ; and was a 
further stretch of authority likely either to convince or to 
silence them ? The Marrow Men lodged a protest equally 
defiant ; but the Assembly wisely overlooked it, and the 
Marrow controversy soon died away. 

Acts of Assembly are not articles of communion. Every 
law written in the minute-book of the Church is not to be 
believed and venerated as a chapter in the Confession of 
Faith. These arguments of Erskine are unanswerable. Men 
may remain in the Church, and yet find fault with the Church, 
Infallibility is not claimed ; the possibility of mistake is 
admitted. There is as much liberty of fault-finding in our 
republican Church as in our monarchical State. All this is 
true, but at the same time, moderation of language and respect 
for the opinions of others are at least to be expected from a 
preacher of that gospel which makes charity the first of the 
virtues ; and it must be allowed there are expressions in 
Erskine's sermon which cannot be justified on the score of 
propriety, as they cannot by the facts of the case. It is doubt- 

LD. 1733.] FIRST TESTIMONY. 295 

ful if the Church of Scotland ever had her parishes provided 
with ministers under a more liberal measure than the Act of 
1732. It is difficult to show the essential difference between 
the Act of Assembly 1732 and the Act of Parliament 1690. 
It is impossible to prove that purely popular election was ever 
known in Scotland, and yet Erskine claimed it as the divine 
right of the Christian people. And because some of his 
brethren differed from him on these points, he compared them 
to the Jews who had rejected Christ, and declared that their 
act had no authority, as it wanted the authority of the Son of 
God. Ought such words to have been spoken, or, if spoken, 
ought they not to have been withdrawn? And even after- 
wards, when the Commission appointed a committee to confer 
with Erskine about his protest, might he not have made some 
concession ? and is it not known that a very small concession 
would have saved him ? l It is to be feared that pride and 
passion mingle in such matters more largely than we are 
willing to allow. It is to be feared that obstinacy sometimes 
takes the name of principle, and cheats even ourselves. The 
Assembly would not recede ; Erskine would not recede ; and 
so the schism took place. 

The four Seceders immediately constituted themselves into 
a presbytery, and shortly afterwards published their " First 
Testimony to the Government, Worship, and Discipline of the 
Church." They narrate the steps which led to their expulsion; 
they sketch the history of the Church in her reforming and 
declining periods, and bewail the departure of Covenanting 
times ; they charge the Church with having broken down her 
constitution, with harbouring heretics, with forcing hirelings 
on the flock, and filling up the full measure of her sin by 
stopping the mouths of faithful men who testified against her. 

The Church had no sooner expelled the four protesters than 
she began to repent of what she had done. Erskine and his 
brethren were men of irreproachable character; they had 
friends who sympathised with them in every synod and every 
presbytery; the people everywhere regarded them as the 

1 The proposed concession was put into this shape : — " If the next 
General Assembly shall declare that it was not meant by the Act of the 
last Assembly to deny or take away the privilege and duty of ministers to 
testify against defections, then we shall be at liberty and willing to with- 
draw our protest against the said Act of Assembly ; and, particularly, we 
reserve to ourselves the liberty of testifying against the Act of Assembly 
1732 on all proper occasions." After a night's deliberation, the four 
brethren refused to subscribe this. See " First Testimony," pp. 29, 30. 


champions of their rights \ their congregations clung to them 
all the closer that they now regarded them as confessors and 
martyrs ; and when the ministers who had been appointed to 
intimate their sentence from their pulpits appeared, an ex- 
cited multitude forcibly withstood them. A violent reaction 
began. 1 

In May 1734 the Assembly met, and at once began to put 
on sackcloth for the sins of its predecessors. It repealed the 
Act of 1730 " Discharging the Recording of Reasons of Dis- 
sent," and the Act of 1732 " Anent the Method of Planting 
vacant Churches/' on the ground that they had both been 
passed contrary to the provisions of the Barrier Act. It em- 
powered the Synod of Perth and Stirling to receive Ebenezer 
Erskine and his adherents back into the Church. It put upon 
record, for the satisfaction of all, that ministerial freedom was 
not to be held as restrained by the decision of the preceding 

1 The feeling against patronage and in favour of the four Seceders was 
peculiarly strong in the Synod of Perth and Stirling, where the mischief 
had begun. In the spring of 1734 it agreed upon an address to be pre- 
sented to the approaching Assembly, the spirit of which may be gathered 
from the following extracts. It begins : — " As it is agreed upon by all the 
members of this Church, that the yoke of patronage is a heavy grievance, 
which hath been complained of in the several periods wherein it was in 
force since the Reformation, and by the rigorous execution of it, especially 
of late, so much the foundation of the present confusions and divisions 
among us, and like to spread further discontent and dissatisfaction, both 
in Church and State, throughout the whole nation." The synod then 
proposes that the Assembly should petition the king and parliament for its 
removal, and also that it should " testify and declare its dissatisfaction 
with all ministers and probationers who should accept of presentations." 
It further proposes that the Act of Assembly 1732, which had occasioned 
the schism, and the Act of 1730, anent dissents, should be repealed ; that 
the Commission of Assembly should be restrained from such tyrannous 
procedure as it had recently been guilty of; and finally, that some effectual 
means should be employed for discouraging " the method of preaching 
that has of late too much obtained, by harangues of mere moral virtues, to 
the neglect of the great and substantive doctrines of Christianity, which 
has created so general a disgust among the hearers of the gospel." The 
synod then concludes — " And whereas we in this province are in a special 
manner touched and affected with the dismal consequences of the censures 
inflicted by the late Assembly, and Commission thereof, upon four worthy 
brethren of our number, we do most earnestly entreat the General Assembly 
that, as they regard the peace and quiet of this Church, and particularly 
the bounds of this province, they would, in their great wisdom, take the 
most prudent and mild methods in order to take off the said censures, and 
restore them again into ministerial communion with the Church, and free 
exercise of their functions in their respective charges." From this it is 
evident that when the synod began this matter, they never dreamt it would 
lead to such results. 


Assembly ; in other words, that ministers fond of declaiming 
against the defections of the Church and the backslidings of 
their brethren might do it with impunity. 1 It appointed a 
deputation to proceed to London, and urge every argument 
to obtain the abolition of patronage. 2 

Never did Church so humble itself to obtain the return of 
its own children to its bosom. It seemed upon its bended 
knees to implore them to come back. It yielded up all that 
they asked. It repealed its own laws; it threw a slur upon its 
own procedure \ it came down from its own high place in 
order to please them. They might now record their reasons 
of dissent from every decision of every court, with what longi- 
tude they chose. They might now speak out their minds as 
freely as they liked. No law henceforward limited the minis- 
terial call to heritors and elders ; nay, more, a deputation was 
on its way to London, to urge the removal of patronage en- 
tirely. Adding practice to profession, the Assembly annulled 
the proceedings of its Commission, which had placed a pre- 
sentee at Auchtermuchty, in opposition to the wishes of both 
presbytery and people. Yet when the Synod of Perth and 
Stirling would restore the protestors to the Church, they 
refused to be restored. 

It is understood that Wilson was willing to return, but 
that Erskine withstood him. We have Erskine's reasons 
for his conduct in a letter to the Presbytery of Stirling. 
" There is a great difference/' says he, " betwixt a positive 
reformation, and a stop or sist given to a deformation. " 
" Some brethren call us to come in and help them against 
the current of defection. But now that the hand of Pro- 
vidence has taken us out of the current against which we were 
swimming, and set us upon the reformation ground by a 
solemn testimony and constitution, it would be vain for us to 
endanger ourselves by running into the current again, unless 
our reverend brethren who call for our help can persuade us 
that our so doing will turn the current, and save both them 
and ourselves." " There is a difference to be made betwixt 
the Established Church of Scotland and the Church of Christ 
in Scotland ; for I reckon that the last is in a great measure 
driven into the wilderness by the first. And since God in His 
adorable providence has led us into the wilderness with her, 
I judge it our duty to tarry with her for a while there, and to 

1 See Acts of Assembly, year 1734. 

- MoncreifFs Life of Erskine, Appendix. 


prefer her afflictions to all the advantages of a legal establish- 
ment." x 

Erskine could not deny that the original ground of his 
separation from the Church was removed. He could only 
plead general defection from the purity of Covenanting times; 
the current was against him — he was not sure he could stem 
it — he had no pledge for the future — he thought it better to 
abide on the high reforming ground where he stood. It 
appears from this to be certain that he found the outer regions 
of dissent a more pleasant place than some imagine them to 
be. It was something to be the leader of a movement — the 
founder of a sect. It was something to occupy holier ground 
than the rest of his countrymen. The true Church had gone 
out into the wilderness, and he had gone with her — that was 
a soothing thought. The people offered him their incense — 
that was peculiarly pleasing. There would be an awkwardness 
in going back. It was true the Church had bowed itself in 
the dust before him, and had re- sought him with tears, but 
still he would rather dwell like a Bedouin chief in the desert, 
than re-enter the cities of Pharaoh and be lost in the crowd. 

The Church still continued to hope for the return of the 
Seceders. The Presbytery of Stirling kept its Moderator's 
chair vacant for some time, that Erskine might come and fill 
it. The Assembly of 1735 despatched a second deputation 
to London to pray for the abolition of patronage. The 
Assembly of 1736, animated by the same spirit, passed an act 
in which it was declared, that it was, and had been since the 
Reformation, a principle in the Church, that no minister should 
be intruded into any parish contrary to the will of the congre- 
gation, and that, therefore, all presbyteries should have a due 
regard to that principle in planting vacant churches. 2 To 
manifest its soundness in doctrine as well as in discipline, this 
Assembly also passed an act enjoining all the ministers of the 
Word to insist continually upon the fundamental doctrines of 
Christianity. 3 

But all was in vain. The Seceders would not be won by 
kindness, as they had not been frightened by threats. Toward 
the end of 1736, they widened the gulf between them and the 
Church by publishing their " Judicial Testimony;" for they 

1 Fraser's Life of Ebenezer Erskine. For a fuller exposition of the 
motives of the Seceders, see also their First and Second Testimonies ; and 
their " Reasons for not acceding to the Established Church." 

2 Acts of Assembly, p. 641, 3 Ibid. p. 636. 


had pleasure in that testimony-bearing against the sins of all 
but themselves, which the Covenanters had loved so well. 
This elaborate document may be regarded as the authoritative 
exponent of the opinions of the first Seceders, and it is there- 
fore proper we should look into its contents. 

It traces minutely the history of the Church ; its reforma 
tion from Popery ; its struggles with Episcopacy ; its Coven- 
anted triumphs ; its dismal persecution ; its time for favour at 
the Revolution. It dwells fondly upon Covenanting times, 
and declares the Covenants to be perpetually binding upon 
them, their children, and their children's children. It extols 
the Protesters and the Remonstrants to the skies. It broods 
mournfully over the reign of Prelacy, not so much for the blood 
that was spilt, as the defections that were made — the black in- 
dulgence, the sinful oaths, the toleration of Popery by the 
Popish James. But it is against the period following the 
Revolution that the " Testimony 9i especially lifts up its voice. 
Prelacy was quietly set aside, without being reprobated as an 
accursed thing contrary to the Word of God. The divine 
right of Presbytery was not declared. The Covenants were 
not renewed. The sins of the land were not mourned for. 
Hundreds of Episcopal hirelings were allowed to remain in 
their parishes, polluting God's sanctuary. A Union was 
entered into with England, inconsistent with the old Covenant 
union ; and the maintenance of Episcopacy in England was 
made a fundamental article of it. As the result of this, a 
boundless toleration was established by law, the yoke of 
patronage was brought upon the Church, the Christmas 
Recess was ordained. All these several defections are con- 
demned, and declared to be national sins ; "and every one of 
them," it is said, " may be justly reckoned among the grounds 
and causes of the Lord's indignation and controversy with 

But this was not all. Heterodoxy had crept into the 
Church ; it sat in the Professor's chair ; it found shelter in the 
Assembly. The " Marrow of Divinity " had been condemned ; 
Professor Simson had not been excommunicated ; and a more 
recent defaulter still, Professor Campbell, had escaped without 
rebuke. Everything, in fact, was going wrong. The land was 
polluted with profanity and horrid immorality. There were 
night assemblies and balls, sinful occasions of wantonness and 
prodigality. An idolatrous picture of Jesus Christ had been 
well received in some of the most remarkable places of the 


land. The penal statutes against witches had been repealed, in 
defiance of the law of God, which said, u Thou shalt not suffer 
a witch to live." — All this lay at the door of the Established 
Church, and therefore they lifted up their " Testimony" against 
it. 1 

This singular document opens up to us what was the real 
cause of the Secession ; the synod sermon was little more than 
the occasion. There were strong counter-currents of opinion 
in the Church. There were some who were throwing off the 
narrow notions of the Covenanting period, and attaining to a 
truer appreciation of the religion of Jesus. They did not re- 
probate Prelacy as the accursed thing; they did not count 
themselves bound by oaths which their grandfathers had sworn 
to extirpate Popery and Episcopacy, Independency and 
Quakerism, with fire and sword ; they thought it was high time 
to stop the burning of every long-tongued, ill-favoured old 
woman, whom her neighbours declared to be a witch ; they 
thought it was like their Master to deal tenderly with erring 
ones, and to use sparingly the thunders of the Church. There 
were others who had inherited all the bigotry and fanaticism of 
the preceding century — who had been uninfluenced by the 
more genial spirit of the day in which they lived — who talked 
and felt precisely like the men who had marched with the 
armies of the Covenant, or who had skulked among the hills 
from the dragoons of Claverhouse and Dalziel. The language 
of the " Judicial Testimony " is exactly the language of Came- 
ron and Cargill. Shall we hesitate to say that the former had 
reached to an eminence unknown to the latter, from which they 
seemed to welcome the dawning of that day which was to be 
illumined by the classic eloquence of Robertson, the erudition 
of Macknight, and the metaphysical genius of Campbell and 
Reid ? The Erskines, unfortunately, were not of this number. 

Three times before had a schism nearly taken place, just 
from this struggle between the new and the old : when the 
Abjuration Oath was sworn; when the " Marrow" was con- 
demned ; when Simson was merely suspended for life, and 
not deposed or excommunicated. The Act of 1732 and the 
sermon of Erskine brought to pass a rupture which had thus 
been thrice threatened. It was impossible it could have been 
otherwise. The generation who had grown up under the 
settled government of the Revolution, could not feel like those 
who had lived amid the wild excitement of the Civil War and 

1 In Willison's Testimony there is much to the same eTect. 

a.d. 1736.] CANT. ^50 1 

the Restoration ; but there are always a few who cling to the 
traditions of the past, and are blind to the changes which are 
going on around them, and hence the probability of an ex- 
plosion and a rupture. 

The change of feeling to which we have referred begat a 
corresponding change in the current style of speaking and 
preaching. Puritanism had created a vocabulary of its own. 
The unctuous verbiage and the nasal twang were known in 
the north as well as the south of the island. In truth, oui 
modern word "cant" is said to have taken its rise from 
Andrew Cant of Aberdeen, one of the most noted Covenanting 
ministers. The Episcopal Jacobites had long ago laughed at 
this spiritual dialect, and some of the Presbyterian ministers 
now began to join in their merriment. Among these was Pro- 
fessor Campbell of St Andrews, who published a treatise on 
Enthusiasm, in which he spoke of the phraseology in vogue as 
a creation of the state of mind which he wished to illustrate. 
Some of his sentiments were censured at the time, and may 
probably be thought deserving of censure still ; but it is 
worthy of remembrance that the serious-minded Foster has 
ascribed a large part of the dislike which men of taste exhibit 
to evangelical religion to the unclassical garments in which 
evangelical religion is too frequently clothed. In some cases 
the reaction was so strong as to lead men to depart not merely 
from the language of Puritanism, but from the simplicity of the 
gospel. Young aspirants in the ministry mounted the pulpit to 
spout the sayings of Seneca, or perhaps to reproduce the ethics 
of Francis Hutchison, who was at that time lecturing with great 
approbation in the moral philosophy class-room of Glasgow. 
In a letter to Warburton, Dr Erskine, himself a student of 
divinity at the time, characterised such men as " paganised 
divines." l 

1 The Assembly in 1726 remitted to its Commission an "Overture 
anent the Method of Preaching;" and in a representation and petition 
signed by twenty-four influential ministers, laid before the Assembly of 
1732, reference is thus made to it : — " There appears more and more need 
for it every day, by reason of several innovations, both in the method and 
strain of preaching, introduced of late by some preachers and young 
ministers, very offensive to many of God's people, and no small obstruc- 
tion of spiritual edification. Yea, a young minister appointed to preach 
before his Majesty's Commissioner to the last Assembly had the assurance, 
even on that solemn occasion, to add to former innovations that of reading 
his sermon openly, though he could not but know that it would give great 
offence both to ministers and people of this Church, and bring a reflection 
on the Assembly, as if they approved thereof." 


The fanaticism of the Covenanting age had lingered longest 
amongst the lower orders of the people, for much of their re- 
ligion was necessarily traditional. As they gathered around 
the fire on a winter night, the grandmother told of how, with 
uplifted hands, they had entered into Covenant with God ; 
how the armies of the malignants had been scattered like chaff 
before the breath of the Lord ; and how the bloody Montrose 
dangled on a gibbet thirty cubits high : and the father told a 
sadder tale, of the servants of the Lord hunted like partridges 
on the mountains ; and Zion laid waste ; and the abominations 
of Babylon brought into the holy place. Traditions like these 
were not easily rooted out of hearts not enlightened by educa- 
tion, and not liberalised by intercourse with the world. 
Amongst such men the Seceders found their most numerous 
converts. The Church, on the other hand, by laying aside 
the roughness and rigour of the Covenanting age, was gradu- 
ally gaining ground among the Episcopalian gentry, w r ho found 
there were more learning and refinement in a community 
fostered by the State, than among a body of Nonjurors who 
had placed themselves beyond the pale of the law. The whole 
commotion, in fact, arose from the spirit of the eighteenth 
century attempting to crush the worn-out spirit of the seven- 
teenth, and the spirit of the seventeenth lifting up its head and 
leaving its sting before it died. It was the battle of progres- 
sion and retrogression. 

But there were events contemporaneous with the Secession 
which demand our attention. We have already referred to the 
writings of Dr Campbell, the professor of ecclesiastical history 
in the University of St Andrews. He had published an " Oratio 
Academica," and a discourse entitled " The Apostles no En- 
thusiasts," in which there were sentiments deemed by many to 
be irreverent and reprehensible. The Committee for Purity of 
Doctrine took up the matter, and in 1736 laid their report 
before the General Assembly. There were four propositions to 
which their attention had been specially called : That man was 
unable by the use of his natural powers to find out the being 
of a God ; That the law of nature was sufficient to guide 
rational minds to happiness \ That self-love was the sole prin- 
ciple and motive of all virtuous and religious actions ; and, 

The Synod of Perth and Stirling, in its address to the Assembly of 1734 
(already quoted in the note to p. 440), also deprecates the "mere moral 
harangues" which were substituted for the doctrines of the gospel, to the 
great disgust of many. 


That the Apostles in the interval between Christ's death and 
the day of Pentecost concluded Him to be an impostor. 
These propositions were undoubtedly capable of a bad con- 
struction ; but the Professor was able to give such explanations 
of his meaning, that the Assembly, upon the recommendation 
of its committee, thought it enough to guard him and others 
against such ambiguous language for the future. 1 

In coming to this resolution, the Assembly showed that it 
was animated by a candour and liberality worthy of all praise. 
Some of the questions which had been started belong to the 
highest regions of moral and metaphysical science ; others are 
fair matters of historical inquiry ; and had the Church con- 
demned Campbell, it would not have advanced the cause of 
religion, while it would have sent a poisoned shaft into the 
breast of philosophy, essaying the strength of its pinions for 
the first time in our country. Sir Henry Moncreiff, in his 
" Life of Dr Erskine," states that even Dr Campbell's enemies 
were constrained to allow that his intentions were pure, and 
his books sincerely designed for the defence of Christianity.' 2 
The truth is, Dr Campbell's writings were called forth by the 
circumstances of the times. It had become fashionable to 
assert that Christianity was merely a republication of the law 
of nature ; and Tindal, seizing on this idea, had published his 
treatise, " Christianity as Old as the Creation." In this book 
he attempted to prove that men are able of themselves to dis- 
cover all the articles of natural religion which are necessary to 
their happiness, and that articles of faith which lie beyond the 
reach of such discovery can never be admitted as a divine 
revelation. It was in answer to such speculations that Dr 
Campbell had published his treatise on " The Necessity of 
Revelation \ " and if, in the heat of the battle, he goes too far, 
it is only as an eager combatant is apt, in the too hot pursuit 
of the flying foe, to lay himself open to assault. 3 

The year 1736 is famous for the Porteous Mob- — one of the 
most mysterious and marvellous mobs mentioned in history. 
The Scotch had not yet been reconciled to the excise-laws im- 
posed upon them at the Union. Smuggling was carried on to 
a prodigious extent, and to land a cargo of French brandy on 
the coast, and cheat the revenue, was esteemed meritorious 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 638, 639. 2 See page 38. 

3 Moncreiff's Life of Erskine. In the " Judicial Testimony " the case of 
Professor Campbell is largely debated, and the lenity of the Church is pro- 
nounced one of the defections of the times. 



rather than otherwise. An officer of excise had seized some 
contraband goods. The smugglers, in return, waylaid the 
exciseman, and eased him of as much cash as would indem- 
nify them for their loss. This they deemed no robbery, but 
merely an honest reprisal ; but for it they were pursued by the 
officers of justice, and being caught, were sentenced to death. 
On the Sunday preceding their execution, according to the 
custom of the time, the two unhappy men were taken to church 
to hear sermon, and placed between four soldiers. Suddenly 
one of them jumped upon the seat, sprung into the passage, 
and in an instant was out of the church and gone. His com- 
panion attempted to follow, but was seized by the soldiers. 
But he struggled so hard and so long that many believed it was 
done to allow his comrade to escape. 1 

This popular belief at once exalted the smuggler into a hero, 
and there were whispers of a rescue at the place of execution. 
But the day came, and the man was hanged till he was dead, 
and no rescue was attempted. When the executioners, how- 
ever, were proceeding to cut down the body, some stones were 
thrown by the crowd, and the city-guard, commanded by Cap- 
tain Porteous, fired upon them, and killed several people. For 
this Captain Porteous was tried, and, in the excited state of 
public opinion, was sentenced to be hanged. But many thought 
he had done nothing more than his duty. It was pretty certain 
he had not fired himself — it was not proved that he had 
ordered the guard to fire — it was thought hard that he should 
be sacrificed to popular fury — and a petition was sent to 
government in his favour, and a reprieve for six weeks was the 
result. But the citizens of Edinburgh were not to be baulked 
of their prey. One evening the city-gates were suddenly seized 
and the sentinels secured. At the beat of a drum the mob 
poured from the lanes and closes of the High Street, the 
Canongate, the Grassmarket, and proceeding to the Tolbooth 
they forced an entrance, laid hold of the unhappy object of 
their rage, who had in vain attempted to hide himself by creep- 
ing up a chimney, and deliberately hanged him on a dyer's 
pole, at the usual place of execution. 

Who organized and who headed this formidable riot has 
never been discovered. No one ever suffered for it. But the 
tidings of it astonished and incensed the government against a 
city where law was thus openly defied. It was proposed to 

1 Dr Carlyle's Autobiography, pp. 34, 35. 
anl witnessed the scene. 

Carlyle was in the church 

A.D. 1736.] THE PORTEOUS MOB. 305 

deprive the city of its gates and its guards, and for this purpose 
a bill was brought into the House of Lords. Almost the only 
man who opposed this measure was the Duke of Argyll, who 
unfortunately, in attempting to vindicate the magistrates of 
Edinburgh, threw the odium of the riot upon the Secession 
ministers, who, he affirmed, were preachers of sedition — a 
slander which, whatever their demerits, they did not deserve. 1 
The bill was greatly modified in the House of Commons ; the 
city gates and guards were preserved ; but the Lord Provost 
was declared incapable of ever again holding any public office ; 
the city was fined in ^2000 to be applied for the benefit of 
Captain Porteous's widow • and, as the result of Argyll's in- 
sinuations, all the ministers of Scotland were required to read 
during divine service a proclamation for the discovery of the 
actors in the murder on the first Sunday of every month for a 
whole year. It was an ill-judged and pernicious requirement. 
It converted the ministers of the gospel into messengers-at- 
arms. It imposed upon them the odious duty of assisting in 
the search for murderers, and mingled matters of blood with 
the sacred services of the house of God. Many of the minis- 
ters refused. Those who complied did it with a grudge, and 
some endeavoured to quiet their consciences by ridiculous 
shifts. Of course the enemy triumphed. It was another proof 
of the Erastian bondage of the Established Church. 

The Seceders, though still occupying the churches of the 
Establishment, had already constituted themselves into a 
separate presbytery, and appointed a professor of divinity to 
train up young men for the ministry. They were now joined 
by Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, Thomas Mair of Orwell, 
Thomas Nairn of Abbotshall, and James Thomson of Burnt- 
island, so that by 1737 they counted eight ministers, each 
with his own congregation, and began to call themselves the 
Associate Presbytery. It was impossible such a rent could 
take place in the Church without creating much bitterness 
of spirit and many unseemly wranglings. For instance, up to 
this time Ralph Erskine and his colleague at Dunfermline 
had lived and laboured in unity ; but now, when Ralph 
Erskine mounted the pulpit in the forenoon, he railed against 
the defections and backslidings of the Established Church, 
and declared the necessity of coming out from her and being 
separate ; and when Wardlaw succeeded him in the after- 
noon, he flatly contradicted ,what A had been said; asserted 
1 Struthers's History, vol. ii. 


that the members of the Associate Presbytery were unnatural 
children, and ought to have remonstrated with their mother 
rather than have abandoned her \ and that, at best, they 
were setting up altar against altar. 1 At Stirling, Ebenezer 
Erskine, debarred from the communion and from a seat in 
the session, five of his own elders who happened to differ 
from him in regard to his secession from the Church ; and 
litigation, contention, and evil-speaking were the result. 
Foiled at law, Ebenezer attempted to avenge himself by the 
terrors of superstition, and from the pulpit of Stirling he 
summoned the five elders by name to appear before the judg- 
ment-seat of Christ, on the day determined in God's secret 
decree. 2 

It began to be felt that something must be done, and that 
if the Seceders could not be reunited to the Church, they 
must be entirely cut off from it. It would not do to allow 
such enemies to remain within the camp. It would not be 
safe to allow such a gangrene to grow any longer upon the 
ecclesiastical body. In 1738 the Synod of Perth and Stirling 
laid before the Assembly a complaint " of the disorderly 
practices of certain Seceding ministers from this Church. " 
In consequence of this, the Assembly enjoined all the 
ministers of the Church who could get access to the Seceders 
to use their utmost endeavours to bring them back to a sense 
of their duty ; it authorised the Commission, if it were found 
necessary, to summon them before the next Assembly ; and it 
recommended all the ministers, elders, and members of the 
Church to endeavour " to reclaim the poor deluded people 
who had been carried away by the division." 

In consequence of the Assembly's instructions, several 
ministers invited the Seceders to a conference ; but the 
Seceders declined to meet with them, unless they agreed to 
argue the points at issue not as commissioned by the Assem- 
bly, but simply as fellow-Christians. When the Commission 
met in November, finding that they were not to be reclaimed 
by argument, it appointed a committee to prepare a libel, 
which at its meeting in March it agreed to serve upon them. 3 
The libel charged them with withdrawing themselves from the 
judicatories of the Church, constituting themselves into an 
independent presbytery, publishing their " Act and Declara- 

1 Fraser's Life of Ralph Erskine, p. 235. 
- Libel laid before the Assembly of 1739. 
3 Morren's Annals of the Assembly, vol. i. pp. 3, 4. 


tion " and their " Judicial Testimony," licensing a young man 
to preach, intruding into parishes, and administering the sacra- 
ments where they had no jurisdiction, exercising discipline 
sometimes in defiance of sentences already pronounced by 
the regular courts, and otherwise following divisive courses 
from the Church established by law, and contrary to their 
ordination oaths. 1 

On the 10th of May 1739 the Assembly met. The great 
subject of debate was the libel against the members of the 
Associate Presbytery. Some were for proceeding with it, 
while others argued for delay. Those who were for clemency 
maintained that severity could do no good ; that persecution 
had never diminished a sect ; that it increased the flame 
instead of quenching it. " Besides," said they, " is it not 
plain the schism is decreasing ? The Seceders pursue such 
methods as must soon reduce them to universal contempt. 
Can the Church have aught to fear ? Is she to be shaken or 
overturned by a set of men who have neither power nor 
interest to do her any considerable prejudice? Every society 
should propose some good end in their public actions ; and if 
any imagined that good would result from severity, it was a 
fatal mistake. It would only inflame the minds of the multi- 
tude, and tempt them to fly into yet greater extravagances." 
On the other side it was said, " The Church is rent by perfi- 
dious men, who had sworn to defend her. Why, then, call 
justice severity, or the execution of law under strong necessity 
persecution ? What has been gained by seven years of for- 
bearance ? Have not the unhappy men been encouraged to 
continue in their schism ? In the days of Cromwell incon- 
siderable sects, not being crushed in the bud, became power- 
ful enough to overturn the Establishment. In the time follow- 
ing the Revolution the Church had cast out M'Millan and 
Hepburn, men as popular in their day as the Erskines ; and 
now their schism was almost extinct." 2 These latter arguments 
prevailed ; and it was resolved, by a small majority, to proceed 
with the libel. 

The Seceders appeared at the bar, but they appeared as a 
constituted presbytery. The Church, still anxious to gain 
them, once more, through its Moderator, declared that if they 

1 A copy of this libel, with answers to it, is published together with the 
Testimonies of the Associate Synod. 

- Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 5, 6. I have abbreviated the argument as 
given by Morren. 


would only return to their duty, the past would be forgiven, 
and they would be welcomed back with open arms. But 
instead of accepting this proposal, the unrelenting Seceders 
offered to read a declinature of the Assembly's authority which 
they had prepared. Accommodation was evidently hopeless. 
The libel was therefore read ; and this done, the accused were 
allowed to read their declinature. 1 

In this document they affirmed that the ecclesiastical courts 
had received intruders into their number, and had refused to 
purge them out : and that whatever sham pretences might be 
made, and whatever fig-leaf covers might be twisted together 
to justify the violence thus done to the sheep of the 
Lord's pasture, they were warranted to affirm, that men 
who were imposed by mere Church authority upon dissent- 
ing and reclaiming congregations had no authority from 
Christ, the Chief Shepherd of the sheep, to feed the flock; 
that they were rather grievous wolves, who had entered in 
to the tearing, rending, wounding, and scattering the flock of 
Christ, and consequently had no warrant from the King of 
Zion to sit in the Courts of His kingdom. But still farther, 
the judicatories of the Church had for many years carried on 
a course of defection and backsliding from the Lord, by 
countenancing error and tolerating the erroneous. They had 
deposed neither Simson nor Campbell, and had refused to 
hear an accusation brought against Dr Wishart. On the other 
hand, they had imposed restrictions upon faithful men, who 
delighted to speak the truth. But this was not all. The 
Courts of the Church had made themselves subordinate to tht 
civil power. They had never asserted the rights of the Re- 
deemer's crown, in opposition to the manifold indignities 
done to Him, and the sinful encroachments made upon His 
spiritual kingdom by acts of parliament and unlawful oaths. 
The proclamation for the murderers of Captain Porteous had 
been read in the pulpits of the Establishment, and no presby- 
tery or Assembly had lifted up its protesting voice against it. 
For these and other reasons, the Associate Presbytery declared 
that the judicatories of the national Church were not lawful 
or rightly constituted courts of Christ, and therefore they de- 
clined their authority. They protested that any sentence the 
Assembly might pass would be null and void ; that their pas- 
toral relation to their congregations would not be broken ; and 

1 Acts of Assembly, pp. 649-51. Sec also Acts and Testimony of the 
Associate Synod, p. 222. 

A.D. 1739. THE GLASITES. 309 

that any persons put in their place would be intruders. Last 
of all, in the bowels of the Lord Jesus Christ, they entreated 
all who regarded the Covenanted testimony of the Church of 
Scotland, and who desired to be found faithful, to come out 
from the judicatories, as they would not be partakers in their 
sins, and to lift up the standard of a judicial testimony for the 
borne-down truths of God, and for purging and planting^ the 
house of God, after the example of their worthy progenitors 
in 1638, believing that the set time for favouring Zion would 
come. 1 

The Assembly sat and heard all this abuse heaped upon 
itself. It must have required the levity of an Epicurean, or 
the apathy of a Stoic, to have heard it with patience. When 
their phials were empty, the Seceders were requested to with- 
draw, and when they were called again they did not compear. 
It was their last appearance at the bar of the Church. The 
libel was found relevant, and enough of it proved to infer de- 
position ; but the Assembly, mindful of the injunction of the 
Great Vine-Dresser, " Spare it yet another year, peradventure 
it may bear fruit," resolved to forbear passing any censure till 
its next meeting, peradventure the wanderers might yet re- 
turn. 2 

The Associate Presbytery had not yet discovered the sin- 
fulness of the Church's connection with the State. In no one 
of their Acts, Testimonies, or Declinatures, where every sin 
they could think of is laid at the door of the Church, is there 
the slightest whisper of such a sin as this. But, singular 
enough, the idea was being developed at this very period in 
another and very opposite quarter. Probably a majority of 
the Scottish clergy still counted themselves bound by the 
Covenants their grandfathers had sworn, and a common topic 
of pulpit discourse was the breach of these Covenant engage- 
ments. The Seceders especially had pleasure in such themes. 
This was now to be openly called in question, not upon legal, 
but upon high evangelical grounds. So early as 1725 the 
Rev. John Glas, minister of Tealing, a devoted pastor and an 
able man, began to preach against the Covenants, as incom- 
patible with the spirit of the gospel dispensation and the sacred 
rights of conscience. Not satisfied with propounding his 
opinions from the pulpit, he published them in a pamphlet, 

1 I have nearly copied, while I have abridged, this curious Act and De- 

' Acis of Assembly, pp. 649-51, 



which created a considerable noise, and drew forth several 
answers. His sentiments rested mainly upon a distinction 
which he drew between the Old and New Testament Churches. 
He argued that under the old Jewish economy the common- 
wealth and the Church were identical, and that to be a 
member of the commonwealth was to be a member of the 
Church. But the New Testament Church, he maintained, 
was a purely spiritual community, gathered out of all nations, 
and having no connection with the kingdoms of the world. 
His opinions, in fact, pointed to Independency and Volun- 
taryism. He was brought before the Courts of the Church, 
and after a lengthened trial he was deposed by the Commis- 
sion in 1730. 

About the same time he published his " King of Martyrs," 
in which his peculiar opinions are more fully developed. He 
also removed from Tealing to Dundee, where a few admirers 
gathered around him and formed the first Glasite congregation 
in Scotland. In 1733 ne removed to Perth, where a small 
meeting-house was built for him. Besides ascribing a purely 
spiritual character to the New Testament dispensation, thus 
rising in true religious conception far above all their compeers, 
the Glasites revived some of the primitive New Testament 
practices. They celebrated the sacrament of the Supper 
weekly ; they kept love-feasts ; they saluted each other with the 
kiss of charity ; they washed each other's feet ; they refrained 
from things strangled, and from blood. It is not often that 
Wodrow jokes, but in one of his last letters he says of Glas — 
" The poor man is still going on in his wildnesses, and comical 
things are talked of his public rebukes for defects and excesses 
in the Christian kiss he has introduced to his meetings." * 

But Glas was a good and worthy man, and the Church, at 
this period, was not disposed to be harsh in its discipline. 
The Synod of Angus and Mearns memorialized the Assembly 
of 1739 in favour of a man whom they esteemed, notwith- 
standing his novelties, and the same Assembly which prepared 
the way lor the deposition of the Erskines, opened up a way 
for the restoration of Glas. By a curious but praiseworthy act 
they restored him to the character of a minister of the gospel 
of Christ, but declared at the same time that he was not 
to be esteemed a minister of the Established Church till he 
renounced the peculiar opinions he had embraced. These 
opinions he never renounced. They were still further ex- 
1 Correspondence, vol. iii. 


paneled by his son-in-law Sandeman ; and the feeble sect still 
known in Scotland as Glasites, is known to the south of the 
Tweed as Sandemanians. In modern days they can boast of 
having enrolled among their members the great name of 
Michael Faraday. 

On the 8th of May 1740 the General Assembly again met, 
and again the principal topic of discussion was the case of 
the Seceders. When they were called they did not appear, 
and it was agreed by a large majority that the Assembly had 
no alternative — that it must depose them from the office of 
the ministry. Accordingly, on the afternoon of the 15 th, they 
were solemnly deposed. The sentence was purposely delayed 
till the afternoon of the term-day, that the deposed Seceders 
might have a right to the stipend of the preceding half-year, 
for thus did the Assembly mingle mercy with judgment. But 
in the whole of the process, the Church exhibited a forbear- 
ance, and a desire to conciliate, which has seldom been 
paralleled. For eight years had the Seceders been allowed to 
retain their churches and draw their stipends, though all that 
time they had been glorying in their separation from the 
Establishment, and pouring calumnies upon it. They were 
now dislodged from their churches and deprived of their 
stipends, and cast upon the stream to sink or swim as they 
best could. It must be said they have gallantly kept their 
heads above the water. The truth is, the Secession Church 
had a popular element in its constitution which has proved 
to be its breath of life. When the offset was separated from 
the parent stock, and no longer received its nourishment, it 
soon struck its roots into the soil ; and now, after more than 
a century, it flourishes as a mighty tree, under the broad 
shadows of which hundreds of thousands find a shelter. 


George Whitefield was now at the zenith of his renown. 
He preached as no man within the memory of men had 
preached. In truth, if we estimate oratory by its effects, this 
son of a tapster from the Bell Inn of Gloucester had surpassed 
all ancient and all modern fame. Demosthenes had not so 
swayed the Athenian mob, nor Bossuet the Parisian court, nor 
Bolingbroke the English parliament, as Whitefield swayed the 





motley multitudes who everywhere gathered around him. 
Men of all ranks acknowledged his wondrous power— colliers 
and cobblers, ploughmen and nobles, philosophers and fools. 
He had preached in every county of England; he had crossed 
the Atlantic and lifted up his voice in America ; and every- 
where the effect was the same. People, careless before, but 
now awakened to a sense of their guilt and danger, beat upon 
their breasts, burst into tears, swooned away ; or, passing at 
once from sin to salvation, they could not refrain from singing 
for joy. 1 

The great Methodist preacher was now invited by the 
Seceders to visit Scotland. For some time the Erskines had 
been corresponding with him, and mentioning him publicly 
in their prayers, in a way which he himself thought extrava- 
gant. 2 They knew that the custody of such a lion would 
greatly add to their popularity. The Seceders, however, did 
not conceal from the Methodist that they expected he would 
renounce his prelatic ordination, embrace Presbyterianism 
and the Covenants, and confine his preaching entirely to their 
meeting-houses. Whitefield was too large-hearted a man to 
be bound by such ties, and declared that he intended to visit 
Scotland simply as an itinerant preacher, to proclaim the 
gospel, and not to connect himself with any form of Church 
government whatever. 3 

On the 31st of July, Whitefield was at Dunfermline, in the 
house of Ralph Erskine. Ralph Erskine was perhaps the 
best and most liberal-minded of all the Seceders. As a 
preacher he did not equal his brother Ebenezer, whose de- 
clamation was bold and powerful ; but he had more learning 
and more sense. He was fond of fun, and his love for music 

1 For a time the preaching of Whitefield was not accompanied by the 
same violent convulsive effects as had always accompanied the preaching 
of Wesley; but subsequently it was. 

2 Letter of Whitefield to Mr J. C, Edinburgh, August 1, 1741. 

a In June 1741, Ebenezer Erskine writes to Whitefield, " If you could 
find freedom to company with us, to preach with us and for us, and to 
accept of our advice in your work while in this country, it might contribute 
much to weaken the enemies' hands, and to strengthen ours in the work 
of the Lord, when the strength of the battle is against us." Whitefield 
replied, " I cannot but think the Associate Presbytery is a little too hard 
upon me. If I am neuter as to the particular reformation of Church 
government till I have more light, it will be enough. I come simply to 
preach the gospel, and to be received as an occasional itinerant preacher 
by all, and not to enter into any particular connection whatever." ( Fraser's 
Life of Ralph Ersfcine, pp. 324, 325). 


found vent in fiddling, to the great scandal of his elders. He 
wrote some rhymes called " Gospel Sonnets/' in which piety 
and drollery are strangely commingled. He also wrote a 
polemical treatise, entitled "Faith no Fancy," in which he 
shows some talent for metaphysical disquisition. Such was 
the man with whom Whitefield had taken up his abode. 

The host instantly began to endeavour to make a proselyte 
of his illustrious guest. Whitefield went so far as to say that 
he was ordained in his time of ignorance, and that, if it were 
to be done again, it would not be by a bishop. 1 But when 
Erskine wished to bargain with him that he should confine his 
preaching to the Seceders, Whitefield boldly said that he could 
refuse no call to preach Christ, whoever gave it. " Were it 
a Jesuit or a Mahometan," he said, " I would embrace it, for 
testifying against them." Whitefield preached that night in 
the meeting-house at Dunfermline; but he immediately 
afterwards set off to Edinburgh, where he preached in the 
Canongate Church. While in the Metropolis he also 
preached on the grounds of the Orphan Hospital. When he 
had finished his discourse on this occasion, a Quaker saluted 
him. " Friend George," said he, " I am as thou art. I am 
for bringing all to the life and power of the ever-living God ; 
and therefore, if thou wilt not quarrel with me about my hat, 
I will not quarrel with thee about thy gown." 2 It was a 
quaint lesson to the Associate Presbytery. 

On the Wednesday following, Whitefield returned to Dun- 
fermline to have a conference with the Seceders met in 
solemn conclave. He testifies that they were a set of grave, 
venerable men. When they were proceeding to choose a 
moderator, and constitute themselves into a presbytery, 
Whitefield asked what all this meant. He was told it was 
to set him right about Church government and the Solemn 
League and Covenant. Whitefield replied that they mignt 
save themselves the trouble, that he had no scruples upon 
the point, and that to preach about such matters was not 
his plan. Ralph Erskine, in a conciliatory tone, asked his 
brethren to bear a little with their Methodist friend, as he 
had been born and bred in England, and could not be sup- 
posed to be so perfectly acquainted with their Covenants as 
if he had been a Scotchman ; but one of the stern Seceders 

1 Letter, Ralph Erskine to Ebenezer Erskine, 31st July. Fraser's Life 
of Ralph Erskine, p. 326. 

- Letter, Whitefield tq Mr J. C, Edinburgh, August 1, 1741. 


replied, that no indulgence was to be shown him. Upon 
this Whitefield ventured to say that he had never yet made 
the Solemn League and Covenant the subject of his study, as 
he had been busy with matters which he judged of greater 
importance ; but he was instantly told that every pin of the 
tabernacle was precious. Whitefield then asked them seriously 
what they would have him to do. He was informed, that he 
would not be required to subscribe the Solemn League and 
Covenant immediately, till he had more light ; but that he 
must confine his preaching entirely to them. " Why confine 
my preaching to you ? " said Whitefield. " Because we are 
the Lord's people," said Ralph Erskine. "Are there no other 
Lord's people but you ? " said Whitefield ; " and supposing 
all others are the devil's people, certainly they have the more 
need to be preached to. I am therefore," he continued, " more 
and more determined to go out to the highways and hedges, 
and if the Pope himself will lend me his pulpit, I will gladly 
proclaim the righteousness of Christ therein." 1 

After this conference, which throws a strange light upon 
the different actors in it, the whole company went to the 
church, where one of the Seceders mounted the pulpit, gave 
out as his text, " Watchman, watchman, what of the night ? " 
and, according to Whitefield, so spent himself upon Prelacy, 
surplices, and prayer-books, that his breath was so gone, that 
when he came to speak of Jesus he could not be heard. The 
consequence of all this was an open rupture. " I retired," 
says Whitefield, " I wept, I prayed, and after preaching in 
the open fields, sat and dined with them, and then took a 
final farewell." 2 The Seceders now denounced the stubborn 
Methodist as an agent of the devil \ but many of the pulpits 
of the Established Church were thrown open to him, and 
where he could not find a pulpit, he preached in the market- 
place or the fields. Immense multitudes gathered around 
him, and all felt themselves swept along by the full gushing 
tide of his oratory. 

But we must now transport ourselves to the parish of 
Cambuslang, where, during the spring of 1742, strange 
symptoms of a religious revival began to appear. These 
occurred not under the stirring preaching of Whitefield, for 
he had never been there, but under the ministry of Mr 

1 Letter, Whitefield to Mr J. N., New York, 8th August. 

2 Letter, Whitefield to Mr J. N., 8th August. Fraser's Life of Ralph 
Erskine, pp. 330, 331. 


M'Culloch, the pastor of the parish, who is described as a 
man of genuine piety and fair ability, but by no means 
remarkable as a preacher. At the request of his parishioners 
this good man had commenced a weekly lecture in addition 
to his usual Sunday services, and some of his parishioners 
had begun to call upon him at the Manse, in deep concern 
about the state of their souls. One evening, in the month of 
February, he happened to exclaim, in the course of his lecture, 
" Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of 
the Lord revealed ? " upon which some persons cried out in 
the meeting in great distress because of their sins. From 
this evening such scenes became common. Every night the 
people gathered together to hear the Word preached to them 
by their minister, or some of his friends, and every night men 
and women were so violently agitated as to be unable to 
restrain their feelings. Some clapped their hands, others 
beat upon their breasts, others trembled and shook like the 
Delphic priestess when about to deliver her oracles. Some 
bled profusely at the nose, and others fell into convulsions. 
These bodily agitations were only the symptoms of a still 
more violent agitation of soul. Women who had borne 
children declared that they had never, during child-bearing, 
suffered such violent throes as they had when they them- 
selves were being born anew. They thought they saw hell 
opening to receive them — they thought they already heard 
the shrieks of the damned. Those who were thus plunged 
into the depths of despair were generally soon afterwards 
elevated to the highest regions of ecstacy. They had passed 
from darkness into a marvellous light ; they clearly saw 
Christ with a pen in His hand blotting out their sins \ they 
could now exclaim — " I ord, let thy servant depart in peace, 
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation/'' Sometimes, rising 
up in the congregation, they would call upon all to join with 
with them in singing a psalm, which they said God had com- 
manded them to sing. 

There were two men — More, a shoemaker, and Bowman, a 
weaver — who had heard Whitefield preach in Glasgow, and 
who, from the first, were conspicuous in helping on the revival at 
Cambuslang. When any one was affected they were generally 
at hand. Thus, on one occasion, when a woman had fainted 
and began to levive, Bowman said to her, " Christ is coming, 
He is on His way, He will not tarry ;" and, after a pause, 
More added, " Do you hear the sound of His chariot-wheels ] n 


As if she really heard them, the woman instantly started up in 
a transport of joy, shouting " He is come ! I have got Him, 
and will not let Him go!" 

The news of all this soon spread, and multitudes from every 
part of Scotland crowded to Cambuslang to see the Lord's 
strange work. Among these came many ministers, some from 
curiosity, some to test the reality of the religious phenomena, 
some to help M'Culloch in his toils. M'Laurin of Glasgow, 
Webster of Edinburgh, Robe of Kilsyth, and many others, 
came and preached to the excited congregations who daily 
clustered around the tent. Conspicuous in every audience 
were a number of men and women, seated by themselves, and 
with napkins tied round their heads. These were they who, 
during the preceding day, had been brought under a con- 
viction of their sins, and who now sat sobbing bitterly because 
of them. 

Whitefield had returned to England, but in June he was once 
more in Scotland, and it was not long till he was at Cambus- 
lang, increasing the excitement by his impassioned oratory. 
In the month of July, and again in the month of August, was 
the sacrament of the Supper dispensed. On the latter occa- 
sion the revival reached its culminating point. Thirty thou- 
sand people were gathered together. These were divided into 
three separate congregations. During the course of the day 
fourteen ministers had preached ; twenty-five tables had been 
filled with communicants anxious to take into their trembling 
hands the consecrated bread and wine. It was ten o'clock at 
night when Whitefield rose up to address the whole multitude. 
The tent stood on the margin of a little stream ; in front of 
this rose a green bank in the form of an amphitheatre, still 
known as " the conversion brae." It was wonderfully adapted 
to the purpose to which it was now applied, and Whitefield, in 
one of his bold figures of speech, spoke of it as a temple built 
by God Himself for this great concourse to worship in. As 
the preacher's deep voice, in the twilight of the autumn eve, 
rolled over the vast multitude, it was answered by sighs and 
sobs, and soon the whole audience was melted in tears. 

After this no other such spectacle occurred ; the overflowing 
flood of feeling subsided, and shrank into its usual channel. 
The state of tension had been so great that the mind could 
bear it no longer, and suddenly relaxed. Like an epidemic, 
the religious revival had mysteriously come, and it now as 
mysteriously disappeared. In speaking of it nine years after- 

a.d. 1742.] THEORIES TO ACCOUNT FOR IT. 317 

wards, the minister had to lament many backsliders; but still 
he spoke of hundreds who from that time forward had been 
evidently changed. 1 

Different people viewed the " Cambuslang work " in dif- 
ferent lights. The Seceders, who arrogated all piety to them- 
selves, and could not believe that any good thing could come 
out of the Establishment, ascribed it to the devil. They wrote 
against it, preached against it, and appointed the 4th of 
August to be observed as a day of fasting and humiliation 
through their whole body, for the countenance given to 
Whitefield, " a priest of the Church of England, who had 
sworn the Oath of Supremacy, and abjured the Solemn 
League and Covenant," and for " the symptoms of delusion 
attending the present awful work upon the bodies and spirits 
of men going on at Cambuslang." The old Cameronians, now 
transmuted into M'Millanites, ranked themselves by their side. 
It was impossible, they argued, that a Church so Erastian could 
be favoured of God. They published "The Declaration, 
Protestation, and Testimony of the Suffering Remnant of the 
anti-Popish, anti-Lutheran, anti-Prelatic, anti-Whitefieldian, 
anti-Erastian, anti-Sectarian, true Presbyterian Church of 
Christ in Scotland, against Mr George Whitefield and his en- 
couragers, and against the work at Cambuslang and other 
places." They denounced "the Laodicean ministers whose 
ways were such as might astonish the heavens, and make them 
horribly afraid;" they charged them with changing their paths, 
" by going in the way of Egypt and Assyria to drink the waters 
of Sihor and the river, even the poisonable puddles of Prelacy 
and Sectarianism;" they pronounced Whitefield "an abjured 
prelatic hireling, of as lax toleration principles as any that ever 
set up for the advancing of the kingdom of Satan ;" they said 
his followers were "like the children of Israel when, in an 
unsanctiried fit of madness, they danced about the golden calf, 
to the dishonour of God and their own shame f and, finally, 
they declared that it looked "as if the devil had come down 
to Scotland, having great power, because he knew that he had 
but a short time." 2 

1 I have taken this account of the Cambuslang Revival chiefly from the 
statement of Dr Meek, minister of Cambuslang, in the Original Statistical 
Account of Scotland, vol. v., and from a letter of Mr M'Culloch, printed 
in the second vol. of Struthers's History of Scotland. Robe's Narrative of 
the Extraordinary Work of God at Cambuslang, Kilsyth, &c, is very full, 
but it is one-sided. 

2 This strange document is quoted by Mr Burton, in a note appended to 
his History of Scotland (under date). I have notseen it elsewhere. 


Such language could not fail to shock many serious-minded 
men. They believed the " Cambuslang work " to be the re- 
sult of a Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit of God ; and to 
speak of it as a delusion of the devil appeared to them nothing 
less than blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Robe of Kilsyth 
declared that the act of the Associate Presbytery " was the 
most heaven-daring paper which had been published by any set 
of men in Britain for a century past." Between these two con- 
tending parties there were some who thought that the pheno- 
mena witnessed at Cambuslang need be ascribed neither to 
God nor the devil — that sympathy and imitation, under the 
influence of strong excitement, were sufficient to account for 
them all. 

We shall not err greatly from the truth if we attribute all 
that was peculiar in the revival at Cambuslang — the contor- 
tions of the body, the shouting, the singing — to feelings which 
are native to the mind, and which may at any time be brought 
by circumstances into powerful operation. Persons have often 
died purely from the power of imagination. Both hope and 
fear not unfrequently cause convulsions. So sympathetic and 
so imitative is man, that, let a panic arise in a congregation, or 
even in an army, and it will immediately spread to every 
individual, and turn the bravest into cowards. We need not 
therefore wonder that under the influence of religious excite- 
ment symptoms should have been produced which evidently 
point to hysteria as their cause. Such hysteric revivals have 
been known in all countries, and under all religions. They 
have been exemplified in our own day both in America and 
Europe, and will occasionally occur so long as man is so 
powerfully moved by religious feelings. The physical convul- 
sion is a proof of the mental excitement. But it were wrong to 
suppose that religious reformation never takes place unless 
when accompanied by such visible effects. Such changes are 
constantly going on around us, and yet they are accompanied 
by no fainting fits or bleedings at the nose. In some High- 
land districts the people swing to and fro and make strange 
noises when listening to an arousing preacher ; but there is 
no reason to believe that conversion takes place more fre- 
quently amid such agitations of the body than amid the pro- 
prieties and decorum of a town congregation. As physiolo- 
gical phenomena, religious revivals are undoubtedly deserving 
of more attention than they have hitherto received. 

It was in the Assembly of 1742 that the Ministers' Widows' 

A.D. 1742.] THE WIDOWS' FUND. 319 

Fund originated. It had long been felt that some such scheme 
was necessary. When the husband and the father died, the 
widow and children were turned out of the manse, and too 
frequently consigned to indigence. So early as 1718 the 
Assembly had recommended that each minister should dedi- 
cate the tenth of his stipend for one year for the relief of the 
widows and orphans of his deceased brethren, and the in- 
junction was repeated in 1728, and again in 1735; but not 
being imperative it never became operative. At this period 
it was customary to make a collection every year at the meet- 
ing of the Assembly for the relicts and children of ministers 
left in poverty. 1 

To Dr Alexander Webster, one of the ministers of Edin- 
burgh, the Church is chiefly indebted for having originated 
and brought to maturity the Widows' Fund. All his con- 
temporaries describe Dr Webster as a remarkable man, — 
possessed of a native dignity of manner, readiness of wit, and 
fluency of speech. When minister of Culross, he was solicited 
by a friend to bespeak for him the affections of a lady of 
fortune residing in the parish. Webster pleaded the cause of 
his employer with such hearty eloquence, that the lady naively 
remarked, that he had succeeded better had he spoken for 
himself. He did speak for himself, and the lady became his 
wife. After he was removed to Edinburgh he soon acquired 
great popularity as a preacher, and his preaching was of what is 
called the most purely evangelical kind. When the thousands 
were gathered at Cambuslang, Webster was there. But neither 
the high pitch of his evangelicism, nor the solemn scenes he 
had witnessed on the " Conversion Brae," could restrain his 
love for conviviality. In too many jolly companies the 
minister of the Tolbooth Church was the jolliest of all. No 
one in the city could joke with him ; no one could drink with 
him ; when all others were drunk, Dr Webster was still per- 
fectly sober. What is strangest of all, this delight in boon 
companionship never lessened in the slightest degree the high 
estimation in which he was held. 

But Dr Webster was much more than a mere toper and 
jester ; he was a benevolent man. He was a profound statisti- 

1 Morren's Annals of the Assembly, vol. i. p. 28. Sometimes minis- 
ters' widows were left so poor that they were assisted out of the funds of 
the kirk-session. The following entry occurs in the accounts of the kirk- 
session of Crieff: — " 1709, Oct. 9. Mrs Strachan, the minister of Weem s 
relict, 12s.'' 


cian at a time when statistics were very little known. Soon 
after his settlement in Edinburgh he began to collect informa- 
tion, and to make calculations as to the rates that would re- 
quire to be imposed upon every minister of the Church to 
furnish small annuities to their widows. Such computations, 
easy now, could not be accomplished then without much 
ingenuity and labour. But Webster set himself to the work, 
and did it. In these labours he was greatly assisted by Dr 
Robert Wallace, one of the ministers of St Gile's, an able 
mathematician, and distinguished as a political economist by 
his ingenious " Dissertation on the Numbers of Mankind," a 
book which contains the germ of some of the principles after- 
wards developed by Malthus in his *' Essay on Population." l 

When the scheme was first laid before the Assembly, it was 
proposed that every stipend should be assessed in an equal 
sum, not exceeding ^4 yearly, and that out of the fund thus 
collected every minister's widow remaining unmarried should 
receive an annuity of ^20. This plan, however, was after- 
wards considerably modified ; it was made to apply to the 
children as well as the widows of deceased clergymen, and an 
option of different rates was allowed, with corresponding 
annuities. In 1743 the Assembly approved of the scheme, 
and resolved to apply for an act of parliament to make it 
obligatory. 2 The act was obtained, and in March 1744 it 
came into force. It has, however, been subsequently twice 
altered by authority of parliament. 

Up to 1742 Sir Robert Walpole had maintained his place at 
the head of the government. His term of power, unexampled 
for duration, was owing both to his great dexterity in managing 
men, and to a system of corruption so wide spread that we 
now find it hard to believe that such things could have been 
done so recently in our country. But he was at length obliged 
to yield to the clamours of the Opposition and the strong tide 
of public opinion. He found retirement in the House of 
Peers under the title of Earl of Orford. Under the new 
ministry, the Marquis of Tweeddale had the chief direction of 
Scotch affairs. Dr Wallace was the man he generally consulted 
upon matters connected with the Church. We have already 
spoken of him in connection with the Widows' Fund. He was 
a distinguished political economist, an elegant preacher, an 

1 An interesting picture of Dr Webster is given in Dr Carlyle's Auto- 
biography, pp. 238-43. 

2 Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 38. 


accomplished man ; and in his old age found relief from 
severer studies, and at the same time showed the versatility of 
his talents, by writing notes on Giovanni Galinni's " Treatise 
on the Art of Dancing " — an odd employment for an aged 
doctor of divinity. But every art, and this among others, is 
based upon a science. Be this as it may, the Doctor was 
universally respected, and the Crown patronages were so 
managed by him that scarcely a single dispute arose about any 
settlement in which he was concerned. Up to this time the 
Crown patronage, in the Church as in the State, had too 
frequently been used to subserve political purposes ; but the 
royal presentations were now generally given to such minis- 
ters as were desired by the holders of land in the parish, pro- 
vided they were not obnoxious to the people. 1 

In the Assembly of 1744 there was an act passed against 
smuggling, as a practice which encouraged cheating and lying. 2 
It was not the first act of the kind ; and there was great need 
of the Assembly's care, as smugglers were busy all along the 
coast. But neither the persuasions of the Church nor the 
terrors of revenue-officers could put an end to a practice 
which the mass of the people did not yet conceive to be a sin. 
Moreover, the smugglers were now bringing into the country 
new articles of luxury. They were landing not merely kegs of 
brandy, but chests of tea ; and the people were beginning to use 
this new beverage in place of " twopenny " at their morning 
meal. It is amusing to read some of the documents of the 
time in which this article, now almost a necessary of life, is 
spoken of as sure to enervate the human constitution and ruin 
the State ! Resolutions against its use were entered into by 
many counties and towns. Total abstinence societies were 
formed. A body of farmers declared it " a consumptive 
luxury, fit only for those who could afford to be weak, indolent 
and useless." Even President Forbes, one of the most en- 
lightened and patriotic men of his time, attributes almost all 
the misfortunes of the day to " the villanous practice/' and 
mourns over the degeneracy of a people who could give up 
their wholesome beer for such a vile drug. : * 

We have already referred to the change which had come 
over the usual style of preaching in the Church. The preacher 
began to aim at purity of language, and, if his genius per- 

1 See Memoir of Dr Wallace by his son. 

2 Acts of Assembly, p. 675. 

3 Struthers's History, vol. ii. p. 79. Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 61. 



mitted, not unfrequently illustrated his subject by a reference 
to the principles of mental or moral philosophy. The unend- 
ing divisions and subdivisions of the preceding century were 
discarded. The old custom of making every sermon contain 
a complete body of divinity was laid aside. One subject was 
fixed upon, and the whole attention was rivetted to it. Some- 
times, to the indignation of many, both among ministers and 
people, the manuscript was taken to the pulpit — a practice 
which had hitherto been esteemed characteristic of the Epis- 
copal clergy. Such novelties of course created asperities. 
Men of the old school began to see laxity of principle, un- 
soundness of faith, Arminianism, Socinianism, Atheism, in 
these modern sermonizers. Hence they were continually in- 
timating that there was a scent of heresy where no heresy was. 
They dragged Professor Campbell before the Church Courts, 
charging him with teaching that self-love lay at the basis of 
religion ; they arraigned Dr Wishart, 1 singularly enough, for 
teaching the very opposite — that self-love was not a religious 
motive. The Assembly wisely acquitted both. They accused 
Professor Campbell of denying that a man could discover the 
being and attributes of God without a revelation ; and now, as 
we shall immediately see, they accused Dr Leechman for 
asserting it. 

Dr Leechman, while minister of Beith, had preached a 
course of sermons on prayer. About the same period a 
pamphlet had got into circulation, the drift of which was to 

1 This Dr Wishart was Principal of the University of Edinburgh. In 
1738 he was prosecuted before the Church Courts for heresy. The main 
charge against him was, " That he profanely diminished the due weight 
and influence of arguments taken from the awe of future rewards and 
punishments." The Assembly fully acquitted him. Dr Erskine says that 
he " was unjustly accused of heresy for maintaining that true religion is in- 
fluenced by higher motives than self-love." In 1745 he was raised to the 
Moderator's chair. He was brother of Dr George Wishart, minister of the 
Tron Church, and regarded as one of the finest preachers of his day. Of 
him Henry Mackenzie has left us this interesting sketch : — " Of George 
Wishart, the figure is before me at this moment. It is possible some who 
hear me may remember him. Without the advantage of that circumstance, 
I can faintly describe his sainted countenance — that physiognomy so truly 
expressive of Christian meekness, yet in the pulpit often lighted up with 
the warmest devotional feeling. In the midst of his family society — a 
numerous and amiable one — it beamed with so much patriarchal affection 
and benignity, so much of native politeness, graced with those manners 
which improve its form without weakening its substance, that I think a 
painter of the apostolic school could have nowhere found a more perfect 
model." (Life of Home.) 

A.D. 1742-44.] DR LEECHMAN. 323 

show that prayer was an absurd and unreasonable, or rather 
an impious and blasphemous, practice — a vain and superstitious 
attempt to alter the counsels of the Unchangeable. The 
pamphlet is now forgotten, but the argument is not j it has 
frequently been revived. In these circumstances Dr Leech- 
man condensed what he had said in the pulpit, retaining 
chiefly what he considered was an answer to the pamphlet, 
and published it, hoping that his sermon would act as an 
antidote to the poison which had been spread among the 
young. The sermon bore the marks of a devout heart, as 
well as of a cultivated understanding ; it was much read and 
admired, and in the course of a few months reached a second 
edition. The author was soon afterwards made Professor of 
Divinity in the University of Glasgow, and he appears to have 
been deserving of the honour. He was an accomplished 
scholar, of a metaphysical turn of mind ; and we have the 
authority of Sir Henry Moncreiff for saying, that " he was a 
man of primitive and apostolic manners, equally distinguished 
by his love of literature and his liberal opinions."' 1 In appear- 
ance he was like an ascetic monk, reduced to a skeleton by 
fasting and prayer. 2 

But the minister of Beith was not raised to the academic 
chair with universal approbation. He was said to be too 
abstruse in his preaching; his sermon on prayer was pro- 
nounced a Christless sermon • and it was insinuated that he 
might affect the aspirants to the ministry with his dry morality. 3 
These views soon found an exponent. An elder rose up in 
the Presbytery of Glasgow, said that many had been offended 
by Dr Leechman's sermon on prayer, and moved that inquiry 
should be made as to the orthodoxy of its contents. A com- 
mittee was accordingly appointed to examine the suspicious 

The committee met, drew up some condemnatory remarks 
upon the discourse, and then allowed the Professor to append 
his answers. The chief objection taken to the sermon was, 
that it did not specially state that all our prayers to God must 
be offered in the name and for the sake of Christ. To this 
Dr Leechman replied, that his sermon was never intended to 
be a perfect exposition of every part of prayer; that it was 
written with a special object, and that therefore he had con- 

1 Life of Erskine, p. 85. 

2 Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 68. 

3 Robe of Kilsyth, who published an account of Leechman's trial. 


fined his argument within a limited range ; that it was no part 
of his design to explain the ground of acceptance in prayer, 
but to show that the offering up of our desires to God was 
agreeable both to the promptings of our heart and the lessons 
of our Bible. He appealed to other sermons which he had 
preached and published to show that he was very far from 
regarding the merits and mediation of Christ " as foreign and 
superfluous circumstances of which prayer should be stripped." 
The only other objection of any weight which the presbytery's 
committee made to the sermon was, that the author seemed 
to insinuate that some men without the aid of revelation were 
capable of reasoning out for themselves such a knowledge of 
God as might lead to their attaining eternal happiness. Dr 
Leechman denied that any such sentiment was contained in 
his discourse, and challenged proof. He had said that a 
heathen might, by the light of nature, arrive at a knowledge 
of God and His attributes, but nothing more. He had indeed 
used an argumentian ad hominem; but it amounted to no more 
than this, that even Deists, who thought a system of religion 
could be reasoned out by the light of nature, must acknow- 
ledge that revelation was a much easier way of attaining it, and 
much more fitted to the capacities and situation of the bulk of 

Before the presbytery came to a decision, Dr Leechman 
carried his case by complaint to the Synod of Glasgow and 
Ayr. That court met then, as it does still, in the month of 
April. If the Professor of Divinity had his enemies he had 
also his friends, and when the synod assembled it was more 
than usually crowded. Men of high rank, elders of the Church, 
who had not been seen in an ecclesiastical judicatory for years, 
were now in their place. The papers were produced, and the 
remarks of the presbyterial committee and the replies of the 
professor read one by one. Some members of the court asked 
for explanations, and Dr Leechman, who was present, readily 
gave them. In fine, the synod, with scarcely a dissentient 
voice, found that the answers of the Professor were quite satis- 
factory, and that there was no reason to charge him with un- 
soundness in the faith. 1 

The case was brought by appeal before the Assembly which 
met in May 1744; but the Assembly had no difficulty in affirm- 
ing the decision of the synod, and declaring that Dr Leechman 
had given abundant satisfaction concerning his orthodoxy. 2 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 46-C0. 2 Acts of Assembly, pp. 676-77 

A.D. 1745.] THE '45. 325 

The good feeling of the House was so conspicuous, that the 
Moderator alluded to it in his closing address. " In that 
case," said he, "of more than ordinary delicacy, the accusa- 
tion of a professor of divinity for heresy, have we not seen the 
beauty of Christian charity, in condescension, on the one hand, 
to remove offence, and readiness, on the other, to embrace 
satisfaction?" 1 In truth, it would have been very sad if the 
synod or the Assembly had come to a different result. The 
Professor was arraigned not for what he had said, but for what 
he had not said. He was blamed not for denying the media- 
tion of Christ, but for not mentioning it. His imputed sin 
was purely negative. Are there not passages in the Pauline 
Epistles in which we are urged to pray, to pray alway, to pray 
without ceasing, and not told that our prayers must be offered 
up in the name of the Great Mediator? Might not the mode 
of reasoning which led to the arraignment of Leechman have 
led to the arraignment of the evangelists and apostles ? 

But the country was again on the eve of a rebellion; and 
the Assembly of 1744, in an address to the king, mentioned 
their fears, and declared their loyalty. 2 The French invasion, 
to which the Assembly referred, did not take place ; and in 
May 1745, when the Assembly again met, though war was 
raging abroad, there was perfect peace and security at home. 
But two months afterwards Charles Stewart, generally known 
as the Pretender, landed on the coast of Lochaber. He was 
almost alone, and brought with him only a few stands of arms; 
but he was soon joined by Cameron of Lochiel and other 
Highland chiefs, who still clung to the exiled dynasty. De- 
scending from the mountains of Inverness like a torrent 
suddenly swollen by rain, he filled the whole low country with 
alarm, and made himself master of Perth and Dundee. He 
was now joined by the young claimant of the dukedom of 
Perth, who, amid the gaieties and dissipation of fashionable 
life, had been long looking forward to such a day; by Viscount 
Strathallan, Lord Nairn, and Lord George Murray. 

At the head of three thousand mountaineers, all trained to 
their own wild way of warfare, the prince marched southward, 
crossed the Forth to. the west of Stirling, and appeared sud- 
denly under the walls of Edinburgh. The magistrates and 
citizens had talked of resistance, but their courage deserted 
them when the enemy was at the gate, and a surrender was 

1 See Appendix to Morren's Annals, vol. i. 
- Acts of Assembly, p. 675. 



[chap. xxv. 

proposed. But they were saved the trouble of arranging its 
terms, for a party of Celts managed to get admittance to the 
city by night, and, throwing open the gates to their comrades, 
before morning the capital was at their mercy. The castle, 
however, secure upon its rock, bid them defiance. Once more 
the Stewart kept court at Holyrood. 

Soon afterwards the battle of Prestonpans was fought, and 
the victorious Prince penetrated into England as far as Derby. 
But not receiving the support they had expected, his dispirited 
Highlanders were then obliged to abandon their enterprise and 
begin a retreat. Recrossing the border, they repulsed the 
Royalist troops under General Hawley at Torwood, and con- 
tinued their weary march to the north. 

The whole south of Scotland was actively loyal. The Pres- 
byterian pulpits sent forth no uncertain sound. The dread of 
Popery and arbitrary power was still strong. Contributions 
were levied \ regiments were raised. Even the Cameronians, 
though they had testified against both the Georges as uncove- 
n anted kings, took down the muskets their grandfathers had 
carried with them to the moors, and prepared them for use. 
The Seceders were equally loyal. Ebenezer Erskine, though 
now an old man, presented himself one night at the guard- 
room in Stirling when an attack from the rebels was appre- 
hended, in full military accoutrements. When some of his 
friends advised him to go home to his prayers, as more suit- 
able to his age and vocation, he manfully replied, " I am 
determined to take the hazard of the night along with you, for 
the present crisis requires the arms as well as the prayers of all 
good subjects." 1 

All therefore welcomed the Duke of Cumberland, who now 
advanced with a veteran army and a powerful train of artillery. 
The Highlanders knew that it would have been madness to 
have fought him where they were, and instantly began a retreat 
toward their own mountain fastnesses. The duke slowly fol- 
lowed them. Crossing the Spey, he came up with them on 
Culloden Moor — a bleak, unfenced, and almost level tract of 
country. The Highlanders could not have chosen worse 
ground to fight on ; and by making their stand there, they 
threw away every advantage which their own peculiar mode 
of battle in their own country gave them. Infantry, cavalry, 
artillery could all go through their evolutions with perfect ease, 
and sweep the entire plain. There could be no surprise. 
1 Eraser's Life of Ebenezer Erskine, p. 439. 

A.D. 1746.] CULLODEX. 327 

There was no bog in which the horses might sink up to their 
girths. There was no precipice from which the mountainers 
could roll down huge stones upon the soldiers as they clamber- 
ed up the narrow defile. The result was scarcely doubtful. 
The Highlanders discharged their pieces, and rushed on with 
their broadswords in their usual gallant fashion ; but a terrible 
fire mowed them so down as they advanced that they never 
reached the bayonets of the royalist regiments. They turned 
and fled. In a few minutes the whole plaided multitude were 
running from the field; and the dragoons, who had been 
twice charged, twice discomfited, and twice disgraced by these 
foot combatants, now found a safe revenge by pursuing them, 
and most mercilessly butchering them in their flight. 

The Duke of Cumberland, though a young man of but 
twenty-five, had shown that he was possessed of military genius 
worthy of the illustrious house from which he was sprung ; but 
he forgot mercy in the hour of victory, and stained his laurels 
with a needless effusion of civic blood. It is not in the 
Highlands alone that he is execrated to this day as the Royal 

Prince Charles, from a small eminence behind the first 
line of his battle, saw his gallant Highlanders falling in heaps, 
staggering, flying ; and, turning his horse's head to the west, 
he escaped along the south-east bank of Loch Ness. For five 
months afterwards was he hunted from glen to glen, and from 
island to island. Thirty thousand pounds were offered for his 
head. But Highland faith was found to be incorruptible ; 
female devotion came to his aid ; and after such escapes and 
hardships as a romancer would scarcely venture to tell, he 
managed to get on board a vessel and sailed for France. 

The battle of Culloden was fought upon the 16th of April; 
and by the time the Assembly met in May, not only was the 
neck of the Rebellion broken, but the country was again quiet. 1 

1 There was much perplexity about the meeting of this Assembly. The 
8th of May was the day appointed ; but when the 8th of May came, the 
Earl of Leven's commission had not arrived. On the 8th, however, the 
Assembly met, and the Moderator of the preceding Assembly preached ; 
but the election of a new Moderator was delayed, and the 8th and 9th 
were spent in devotional exercises, according to custom. On the 9th an 
express arrived with the commission to the Earl of Leven, but by some 
mistake he was not authorised to act till tke 16th. The Assembly was in 
a strait. Some were for delaying till the 16th, some were for proceeding 
to business at once. It was ultimately resolved to choose the new Mode- 
rator, and nominate the usual committees, for facilitating the business of 
the House, and nothing more, till the Commissioner could take his seat. 


The Assembled divines drew up a congratulatory address to 
his Majesty, and despatched a congratulatory letter to the 
victorious duke. They appointed a day of thanksgiving for 
their deliverance from the Pope and the Pretender ; and when 
that day came, every Presbyterian pulpit was vocal with 
Cumberland's praise. 1 

Many of the Episcopal clergy were deeply implicated in the 
Rebellion. In fact, as the Presbyterians were almost to a 
man Hanoverians, the Episcopalians were almost to a man 
Jacobites. When such was the case, it need scarcely be 
wondered at that the Duke of Cumberland wreaked his anger 
upon them. Wherever he came he burned their chapels, and 
in the district where the campaign lay there were many such 
buildings, for there Episcopacy was strong. 

The fire-raising of the duke was followed by an act of parlia- 
ment which nearly exterminated Episcopacy in Scotland. It 
provided that, after the 1st of September, " every person 
exercising the function of a pastor or minister in any Episcopal 
meeting-house in Scotland, without registering his letters of 
orders, and taking all the oaths required by law, and praying 
for his Majesty King George and the royal family by name, 
should for the first offence suffer six months' imprisonment, 
and for the second be transported to some one of his Majesty's 
plantations for life." Every house in which five or more 
persons besides its usual occupants assembled for worship was 
declared to be a meeting-house : and no letters of orders were 
henceforward to be registered but such as had been given by 
some bishop of the Church of England or of Ireland. Such 
were the penalties imposed upon the clergy. Those laid upon 
the laity were proportionally severe. If any one attended an 
illegal Episcopal meeting, and did not give information within 
five days, he was to be fined or imprisoned. If any peer was 
twice guilty of this crime, he could neither be chosen a repre- 
sentative peer, nor vote in the election of another ; and if any 
commoner were so guilty, he could not sit in parliament for 
burgh or shire. 2 Stringent though the measure was, it was 

Thus the Church maintained its old claim to hold Assemblies upon its own 
authority, and at the same time got the sanction of the Crown to all its 

1 After the rising of the Assembly a letter arrived from the Duke, 
addressed to the Lord Commissioner, extolling the active loyalty of the 
Presbyterian clergy, and which was entered in the Records of the 

2 Stephen's History, vol. iv. 


not opposed even by the English bishops. It was felt to be 
necessary for the safety of the State. 

Under the pressure of this statute, a few, and only a few, of 
the Episcopal clergy took the oaths to government, and began 
to pray for the reigning family ; the rest continued to exercise 
their sacerdotal functions in private, taking care, where dis- 
covery was possible, that the number of persons present at 
their meetings did not exceed the number prescribed by law. 
But two years afterwards new rigours were prepared for them. 
It was provided by a new act, that no orders whatever should 
be recognised in Scotland but such as were granted by English 
or Irish bishops. This was to annihilate the Scotch episcopate. 
Henceforward Scotch orders, though held by loyal men, were 
unlawful. No Scotch Episcopalian could now preach, or 
baptize, or give the Eucharist, without being cast into prison 
for it. Bishops Sherlock and Seeker strenuously opposed this 
measure; the whole episcopal bench refused it their support; 
and we must honour them for their conduct. 1 The Scotch 
Episcopalians were undoubtedly deeply dyed in treason ; but 
no punishment — for no crime — should compel a man to 
render up his religion, or be false to his Church. If he can 
be proved to be a traitor, let him be punished as a traitor ; 
but let him worship, even on the scaffold, as he pleases. It 
is indeed true that if some peculiar form of religion be the 
cause of crime, it must be put down, for no State can suffer 
anything destructive of itself. But this could not, without 
awkward consequences, be said of Episcopacy. It was not 
these men's Episcopacy that made them Jacobites ; it was 
rather their Jacobitism that kept them Episcopalians. 

Meanwhile the Seceders, not satisfied with having quarrelled 
with the Established Church, began to quarrel among them- 
selves. The Burgess Oath was their apple of discord. This 
oath had a clause in which the burgess swore, " that he pro- 
fessed and allowed within his heart the true religion presently 
professed within the realm, and authorized by the laws thereof/' 
Could the members of their Church any longer take such an 
oath? One party — with the Erskines at their head — declared 
that they had no scruples upon the subject; that there was no 
harm in swearing obedience to the true religion, by which 
could only be meant the religion they themselves, the true 
Church, professed. Another party declared that they could 
not in conscience take such an oath, or allow the members of 
Stephen's History, vol. iv. 




their congregations to take it. The true religion, they said, 
was denned as the religion authorized by the law. They must 
take the phrase in its restricted meaning. There could be no 
mistake as to the religion meant by the framers of the oath. 
It was the religion of the Established Church, here declared 
to be true, though they had declared it to be false. Every 
Seceder, therefore, who took this oath stultified himself, by 
swearing obedience to the legal religion, albeit he had lifted 
up several testimonies against it. The man who took both 
the Covenant Oath and the Burgess Oath virtually perjured 

In April 1746 the Associate Synod came to the conclusion 
that the Burgess Oath could not be taken by the members of 
their body ; and that those who had already taken it must 
appear before their respective kirk-sessions, and confess their 
sense of the snare into which they had fallen, in order to their 
admission into the bond for renewing the Covenants. But 
this resolution was by no means unanimously come to. 
Nearly a half of the synod protested against it. The flame 
thus kindled in the supreme court soon spread to every kirk- 
session and congregation connected with the body. The 
earnestness with which such questions are discussed in small 
religious communities is in proportion to their diminutiveness. 
Hence the keenness and acrimony with which this paltry 
matter was canvassed. Books were written on either side. 
Angry reproaches were freely exchanged. Aged ministers 
forgot not merely the charities of religion, but the courtesies 
of life, and railed at each other. The Erskines, notwithstand- 
ing their advanced age, were as furious as any. 

When the synod again met in April 1747, after two days of 
frenzied debate, an open rupture took place. The one party 
were called the Burghers, the other the Antiburghers, and 
each party claimed to be the true Associate Synod. But the 
Antiburghers exhibited the more daring spirit. They drew 
up a libel against the Burghers, and cited them to appear at 
their bar. When they did not appear, they treated them as 
contumacious, and, proceeding from censure to censure, they 
at last thundered against them the greater excommunication, 
and thus solemnly consigned them to Satan. 1 

The Established clergy, ever poor, thought the times were 
now favourable for asking the British parliament to sanction a 
scheme for the augmentation of their stipends. They had 
1 wStruthers's History of Scotland, vol. ii. 


rendered eminent service to the State during the recent 
Rebellion. They had not only remained faithful to the 
government themselves, but had done much to keep the 
people faithful ; and it was therefore imagined the adminis- 
tration would regard favourably any reasonable request they 
might prefer. The subject was brought before the Assembly 
of 1749 by overtures from five synods and twenty-five presby- 
teries, and gave rise to an animated bebate. 

One of the ablest speakers in support of the overtures was 
Mr Steel, the minister of Sorn, in Ayrshire. He traced the 
history of the teinds and stipends of the Church. He stated 
that the average stipend of that time did not exceed ^52. 
" Can this," said he, " as living goes at present, be deemed 
a suitable support for a minister's family ? Can this answer 
the necessary expense of maintenance, clothing, and education 
to his family as a gentleman, and at the same time defray his 
charges as a minister in buying books, attending judicatories, 
and bestowing charity ? If the settlement made in our 
favour about one hundred and twenty years ago was only a 
reasonable allowance for these purposes then, it must fall 
vastly short of a reasonable stipend now, when the value of 
money is so remarkably fallen, and the price of victuals and 
other necessaries so universally increased. If the stipend at a 
medium falls so far below the necessary expense of our 
character and of the times we live in, what must be the case 
when we take off about three hundred and forty livings above 
^70,^80, ^90, and ;£ioo, and come to the remaining six 
hundred ministers whose benefices do not exceed some ^60, 
some ^£50, some ^40, some ^30 sterling — the pay of a land- 
waiter or the lowest excise officer ? " * 

Among those who opposed the overtures was the Earl of 
Marchmont. This earl had been the personal friend of 
Bolingbroke and Pope. Pope had made him one of his 
executors. When Lord Polwarth, he had acquired some 
distinction as a speaker in the House of Commons ; but on 
his accession to his earldom he lost his seat in the Lower 
House, without acquiring one in the Upper ; and so was 
obliged to transfer his eloquence to the General Assembly, 
where he sat as an elder. He professed himself in favour of 
the clergy possessing a competency, but denied that there 
were many livings in Scotland requiring an augmentation ; 
and argued that those which did might have it if the incum- 
1 Mprren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 1 16-18. 


bents sued for it before the Court of Session. " From what, 
then/' said he, " does the necessity of this application appear? 
6 Oh ! ' says one gentleman, ' the times, the expense of living 
is altered/ Says another, ' It is necessary we should have 
finer clothes, make a grander appearance, in order to make us 
respected and enforce our doctrine/ I never knew before 
that show or a gaudy dress was a necessary part of a minister's 
character. For my part, I should look upon any of you who 
appeared in such a dress in the same light as I would if I saw 
you in a procession wearing a philabeg or harlequin's coat ; 
that is, I would consider you as madmen. I ever imagined 
that the main support of the Church of Scotland had been 
her purity and contempt of the pomp and riches so much 
complained of in the Church of Rome. I am sure it has 
been her purity and poverty that have hitherto preserved her. 
And although the Church of Rome endeavoured to draw as 
great riches and procure as great grandeur to the clergy as any 
Church in the world, yet even it thought it proper, for the 
preservation of the esteem of the laity, to have a begging 
order of men, remarkable for their piety and poverty, and who 
have done more for the support of that corrupt Church than 
all its other clergy besides." x 

Such were the arguments by which this noble earl, the 
descendant of Covenanted ancestors, proved that the ministers 
of Scotland should be kept in a state of mendicancy. As the 
result of the discussion, the Assembly appointed a committee 
to consider the whole matter, and report their opinion as to 
what should be done. 

In 1750 the committee reported that they had examined 
the livings connected with upwards of eight hundred parishes : 
that of these there was one under ^25 ; three above ^25 
and under ^30 ; more than two hundred under ^"50 ; and 
all, saving a very few, so poor that ^50,000 a-year paid all 
the stipends of Scotland, — while upwards of ^60,000 worth 
of teinds remained unappropriated, in the hands of the 
landed proprietors. They therefore recommended that 
application should be made to parliament for a legislative 
measure to facilitate processes before the Court of Teinds, 
and to raise the minimum of stipend, as fixed upwards of a 
hundred years ago, at eight chalders of victual to ten chalders, 
or their value in money. After a violent debate, in which the 
elders were in general arrayed against the ministers, and the 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 119-29. 

a.d. 1750.] 



ministers against the elders, the report was approved of, and 
a deputation was appointed to proceed to London and prose- 
cute the business. 1 

The whole landed proprietary were instantly in arms. The 
spirit which had withstood the " First Book of Discipline," 
and provoked John Knox's terrible wrath — which had grasped 
the Revenues of Religious Houses under the guise of com- 
mendatorships, and the rich revenues of the bishoprics under 
a tulchan Episcopacy — which had made men lukewarm as to 
religion, and scarcely respectable as to morals, flaming sup- 
porters of the Covenant, simply because Presbytery was a 
cheaper commodity than Prelacy — was still as strong as ever. 
County meetings were held, and resolutions passed con- 
demnatory of the Augmentation Scheme. Nobles joined 
hands with lairds to keep their ministers poor. Heritors who 
rolled to church in chariots built with ecclesiastical plunder 
grudged the pastors who preached the gospel to them ^50 
a-year. The ministers attached to their writings on the 
subject the motto, "Pro aris et focis ;" the proprietors 
attached to theirs, " Pro focis" as if it were a life and death 
struggle for their hearths and households. It was vain to say 
that there were in Scotland more than a hundred stipends 
under ^40 a-year. The ready answer was, that there were 
in England and Wales more than seventeen hundred bene- 
fices under ^20. It was indecent to plead that the expense 

1 The following table of the stipends of the Scottish clergy was drawn 
up by the Committee : — 
























60 J 

\ above 

6 5 y 








^ no J 


138, 17s 

not higher 








9§d f 




of living was increased ; for ministers, instead of yielding 
to the luxury which was corrupting the nation, should be 
patterns of frugality to their flocks. It was untrue to allege 
that the present stipends were not sufficient, for instances could 
be given of economical ministers laying out their yearly savings 
at interest. 1 

This was the language not of the Jacobite gentry only, but 
of men who were elders in the Church, who sat in her 
Assemblies, and made speeches about their devotion to her 
cause. Even the Earl of Leven, who for thirteen successive 
years sat as Lord High Commissioner, and was accustomed 
to speak his mind upon Assembly business in a way that would 
not now be tolerated, gave expression to his strong disappro- 
bation of the Augmentation Scheme in the address with which 
he closed the Assembly. Success in such circumstances was 
hopeless. The Church's deputation waited upon the members 
of the government ; they were presented to the king, and had 
at once the honour and humiliation of relating in such high 
quarters how miserably poor they were. They canvassed the 
leading men of the House of Commons, and circulated a paper 
explanatory of their cause ; but after some months of fruitless 
labour, they were obliged to abandon the project in despair. 2 
The Scotch bishops were left to discover how they could be 
given to hospitality on ^40 a year, and the Scotch heritors 
were left in undisturbed possession of the Church's teinds. 

Patronage still continued to be a bone of contention. In 
fact, at this period, things were in the worst possible state — 
there was no universally recognised rule for the appointment 
of ministers. The law of patronage was written in the statute- 
book, but it was not yet fully recognised in the courts of the 
Church. The call was still universally acknowledged as neces- 
sary to the pastoral tie, but there was a difference of opinion 
as to who were entitled to give it. There was consequently 
little uniformity in the way in which appointments were made. 
Sometimes the patron exercised his right, and sometimes he 
let it drop. Sometimes the people were content to take one 
of a list furnished them by the patron or presbytery \ some- 
times they refused to be so shackled, and insisted on being 
allowed to give a call to whomsoever they pleased. This 
looseness of practice, if not of law, was disastrous to the peace 
of the Church. Disputed settlements abounded, Between 

1 See Morren's Annals, vol. i. Also Struthers's History, vol. ii. 
'-' See Appendix to Morren's Annals, vol. i. 


1740 and 1750 there were upwards of fifty such cases before 
the supreme ecclesiastical court. 1 Parishes remained vacant 
for years, and were all the time torn by contending factions. 
The decisions of the Assembly were very variable. In some 
instances the patron was begged to withdraw his presentation, 
as the concurrence of the people could not be obtained ; in 
others, the presentee was forced upon the parish in spite of its 
opposition ; in others, a numerously signed call was preferred 
to a presentation backed by a call with only a few names 
attached to it. This variableness of decision increased the 
evil instead of healing it, for nothing is more necessary to the 
peace of a community than a definite law, well understood, 
and uniformly acted on. 

Though the parties in such disputes generally gave their 
reasons for preferring one man and objecting to another, 
evidence appears never to have been led. 2 The leading of 
evidence in such cases, under the Aberdeen Act, was a novelty, 
unknown to our ancient ecclesiastical law. The chief topic 
insisted upon in the printed papers of the parties is the com- 
parative number of names attached to the competing calls ; 
and it is not unfrequently represented that, of the heritors 
who sign, some are non-resident, some are Episcopalians, some 
were not so moral as they might be. 3 So simple was the pro- 
cess that we have instances of plain countrymen making their 
appearance at the bar of the Assembly to plead their own cause, 
and doing so successfully, notwithstanding the jibes and brow- 
beatings of insolent counsel. 4 

1 Morren enumerates nearly fifty cases, and I have seen some omitted 
by Morren. Principal Lee was asked by the Committee of the House of 
Commons on Patronage if he could not give a list of all the disputed settle- 
ments which had occurred in the Church. He said that a list might be 
made up from the papers which he had in his hands as the Clerk of 
Assembly, but that it would be a work of labour. Such cases are not 
given in the Records of the Assembly. See Patronage Report. 

2 The only case I have found in which there was an approximation to 
leading evidence is the case of Biggar, 1752. It was alleged that the pre- 
sentee could not be heard by the greater part of the congregation ; and the 
presbytery resolved to meet in the church of Biggar, and test this. See 
Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 293. 

3 I have before me a number of the printed papers of cases that came 
before the General Assembly, and they are all of the character I have de- 

4 ^ n I739> Robert Halley, a weaver, and John Gray, a mason, appeared 
before the General Assembly as commissioners from the parish of Madderty 
to oppose the settlement of Mr Blaikie, who had accepted a presentation 
without a call. "The two commissioners," says the "Caledonian Mer- 


The presbyteries in all cases exercised a direct control over 
the appointment of ministers within their bounds ; in some 
instances they took the whole matter into their hands. This 
was especially the case in remote districts, where law might be 
set aside with impunity. But there were other circumstances 
in which the Church Courts assumed the power of making 
parochial appointments. Thus in 1746 the Presbytery of 
Forfar gave both a presentation and a call to a Mr Brown to 
be minister of Cortachy, on the ground that the people were 
disaffected to the government, and unfit to be intrusted with 
the choice of a minister ; and the Assembly approved of what 
they had done. 1 

In truth, at no period in the history of the Church was there 
greater uncertainty or greater contrarieties of practice and 
opinion in regard to the settlement of parishes. Between 
1 7 12 and 1730 patronage was seldom exercised; and when it 
was exercised, it was never enforced unless the presentee was 
agreeable to the parish. The call was the practice, if it was 
not the law, of the Church. From 1730 to 1750 patrons 
began more frequently to exercise their right, and the Church 
began to show a disposition to recognise it. Still patronage 
was uniformly spoken of as a grievance ; the Commission was 
yearly instructed to use its best efforts to have it removed ; 
and the people in general were little disposed to bow their 
necks to its yoke. This was the feeling not merely of the 
lower orders of the populace, but of men of property and 
rank, who were perhaps compelled to accept a minister from 
some patron who belonged to a hostile Church, and had not 
an acre of land in the parish. The presentation and the call 
were evidently destined to come into collision. The old ideas 
founded upon the Books of Discipline and the Acts of 1649 
and 1690 were not yet effaced; the new rule founded upon 

cury " of the day, " though but poor labouring men, acquitted themselves 
to the admiration of all present by their eloquence, connection, good sense, 
knowledge of the constitution, forms, and discipline of the Church, advanc- 
ing nothing without proper quotations. One of them being called upon 
by the counsel to vouch authority for a certain assertion, his back got up 
with so holy an indignation at being interrupted, that he gave such a 
repartee as must have ruffled the patience of any other than the learned 
gentleman." This was by no means a solitary case. In 1740, in the case 
of Bowden, " there appeared Walter Heatley, the miller of Bowden's man, 
commissioner for the Christian people, who appealed to the ' Book of Dis- 
cipline,' which he held in his hand, and insisted that nothing should be 
determined contrary thereto or to the Scriptures of truth. " 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 88. 

A.D. 1740-50.] CASE OF LANARK. 337 

the Act of 1 712 was daily gaining strength. A struggle was 

The disputes to which we have referred had, with a very 
few exceptions, been confined to the Ecclesiastical courts. 
But the case of Lanark, which occurred at this time, went from 
the Assembly to the Court of Session, and from the Court of 
Session to the House of Lords \ and, by the discussions it 
provoked and the decisions to which it led, threw a new light 
upon the law of patronage. The patronage of Lanark was 
claimed by Lockhart of Lee, by Lockhart of Carnwath, by the 
magistrates of the burgh, and by the Crown. Lockhart of Lee 
presented a Mr Dick 3 the burgh and the Crown concurred in 
presenting a Mr Gray. The presbytery found from their 
records that the family of Lee had been infeft in the patronage 
in 1647, and had drawn the stipend during a vacancy; and 
therefore, not doubting their title, gave effect to their pre- 
sentation, by sustaining a call in favour of Mr Dick. But the 
Lockharts were disliked in Lanark; the magistrates were 
incensed at having their claim set aside ; the feeling against 
patronage was strong ; and when the presbytery attempted to 
complete the settlement, they were mobbed, refused admission 
to the church, and told that the people would resist unto 
blood. Two of the bailies of the royal burgh, together with 
three women and seven men, were afterwards tried for the 
riot ; and though the bailies escaped, three of their male and 
three of their female associates were either imprisoned or 
banished. The presbytery, unable from the excited state of 
the populace to ordain Mr Dick in the parish church of 
Lanark, did so in the Tron Church of Glasgow. 

Meantime the Crown contested the right of presentation, 
and got a judgment of the Court of Session in its favour. 
What was to be done? Mr Dick had been regularly ordained 
minister of Lanark ; was his ordination to be held invalid on 
account of this decision of the civil courts ? The Barons of 
Exchequer claimed the stipend, as patrons were then entitled 
to the stipends of their parishes during the time they were 
vacant. There was an appeal to the law. The Court of 
Session found that the minister who had been inducted by 
the presbytery had a right to the fruits of the benefice \ but 
an appeal was taken to the House of Lords, and Lord 
Chancellor Hardwicke reversed the judgment of the Court of 
Session, and found that the Crown was entitled to lift the 

vol. 11. Y 


stipend of the parish as if it were vacant. 1 Mr Dick was not 

challenged as minister of the parish, but he was found to have 
no right to the benefice. In consequence of this decision, he 
did not receive a farthing during the four years he remained 
in Lanark ; but he was then translated to Edinburgh, where 
his argumentative eloquence, his dignity of character, and his 
capacity for business, raised him to one of the most prominent 
positions in the Church. 2 But this case showed, on the one 
hand, how violent was the antipathy of the people to patronage, 
when the merits of such a presentee could not overcome it ; 
and, on the other, how dangerous it was to induct a minister 
without a valid presentation. 

The Church was divided then, as it is still, into two parties, 
who began to be distinguished by the names by which they 
have ever since been known — the Moderate party and the 
Popular party. Both agreed in regarding patronage as a 
grievance, and the call as necessary to the formation of the 
bond between the pastor and his parish ; but the former did 
not attach the most weight to the call which was subscribed 
by the most names, whereas the latter did. The former 
received the countenance of the government ; the latter were 
obliged to content themselves with the plaudits of the people. 
Dr Alexander Webster, of whom we have already spoken, was 
the leader of the Popular party ; Dr Patrick Cumming, 
Professor of Church History in the University of Edinburgh, 
was the leader of the Moderates. Both were possessed of 
conversational powers of the highest order, and of a vein of 
pleasantry which made them favourites in every society. Dr 
Cumming was distinguished as a preacher by an easy and 
fluent style ; as a professor by an extensive and critical know- 
ledge of the subjects upon which he prelected. His capacity 
for business was acknowledged by his enemies; but his powers 
of debate do not seem to have been pre-eminent, and a large 
part of his influence in the Church resulted from the support 
which he received from the Earl of Islay, afterwards the Duke 
of Argyll, who then had the chief management of Scotch 
affairs, and had the government patronage — that mighty mould 
of opinions — almost entirely at his disposal. 

1 A full account of this case will be found in the first volume of Morren's 
Annals. Some able strictures upon it are given by Sir Henry MoncreifT 
in his Appendix to his Life of Erskine. 

2 See Moncreiffs Life of Dr Erskine, and Dugald Stewart's Life of 
Principal Robertson. 

A.D. 1751.] THE MODERATES. 339 

It frequently happened that when the Assembly — in which 
the Moderate party were now fast gaining ground — ordered 
a presentee to be settled in spite of the remonstrances of the 
parishioners, the presbytery where the parish lay refused to do 
the disagreeable work of inducting or ordaining him. They 
declared their consciences would not allow them to do it. 
They declared that their own congregations would forsake 
them if they did. They would not lay the foundation of a 
Secession meeting-house at their own door with their own 
hands. In such a strait as this, the Assembly had hitherto ap- 
pointed a special committee to correspond with the presbytery 
and act in its stead ; but this was felt to be an anomalous pro- 
cedure, and some of the more uncompromising among the 
Moderates resolved to discontinue it. It was right that every 
presbytery should do its own work, and do it every presbytery 
must. These antagonistic principles were now on the eve of 
a collision, and it was plain that the one or the other must 
bow down and lick the dust. 

A Mr Watson had been presented to Torphichen, and out 
of the thousand adults who formed the congregation, only five 
or six could be induced to sign his call. Twice had the 
Assembly ordered the Presbytery of Linlithgow to proceed 
with his settlement and twice had the presbytery refused. The 
matter came up to the Assembly of 1751, when the two hostile 
parties mustered their strength and prepared to do battle. The 
Moderates urged that to permit disobedience to pass un- 
punished was inconsistent with the nature and first principles 
of society. When men are considered as individuals, said they, 
we acknowledge that they have no guide but their own under- 
standing, and no judge but their own conscience; but when 
joined in society, the right of private judgment is superseded, 
the conscience of the individual is merged in that of the com- 
munity, and the minority must yield to the dictates of the 
majority. These maxims form the basis of Presbyterian 
church-government. The two capital articles by which Pres- 
bytery is distinguished from every other ecclesiastical polity 
are — the parity of its ministers, and the subordination of its 
courts. By the one, individual ministers are prevented from 
exercising lordship over their brethren ; by the other, con- 
fusion and anarchy are prevented. Wherever there is a sub- 
ordination of courts, one must be supreme ; and though it be 
not infallible, yet its sentences must be absolute and final. 
No inferior court may disobey its mandates with impunity, or 


all government is at an end ; no individual may set up his own 
scruples against the decisions of the whole Church or authority- 
sinks into contempt. Accordingly, every minister is required 
at his ordination to vow that he will submit himself to the dis- 
cipline and government of the Church. Submit himself, there- 
fore, he must ; or if he cannot, there is but one remedy — he 
must withdraw himself from its communion. 1 

The Popular party argued, that this was to introduce a 
despotism into the Church — to subject the servants of God to 
the rigours of military law. They did not deny the necessary 
subordination of the ecclesiastical courts ; but so long as the 
General Assembly was fallible, they demurred to its sentences 
being absolutely binding. The Church of Scotland, said they, 
is but a branch of the Church of Christ, and within it the law 
of Christ must be paramount. God alone is Lord of the con- 
science. He who sins against his conscience sins against his 
God ; and no order of a superior court can make good evil or 
evil good. No man, no Christian, can resign the right of 
judging for himself. Is the General Assembly, they continued, 
resolved to compel presbyteries to execute its sentences at all 
hazards ? is conscience to be stifled ? is the strong conviction 
of duty to be disregarded ? is everything that is sacred to be 
sacrificed to the single principle of submission to authority ? 
What will be the result of such compulsory measures ? The 
honest and the brave will be compelled to seek for liberty of 
conscience without the pale of the Establishment ; the un- 
principled and the cowardly may remain, but they will remain 
with consciences debauched by this high stretch of Church 
authority — by being compelled to do what their hearts tell 
them they ought not to do. We plead not for license to every 
man to do as he pleases ; but we plead that we may not be 
bound hand and foot by a crushing despotism ; that the law 
may relax something of its sternness in cases where conscience 
is concerned. And if any such cases there are, is not this one ? 
We cannot bring ourselves to force an obnoxious pastor upon 
a reluctant people. We know that the good of the Church 
forbids us to do so. The whole district where we live and 

1 I have here abridged and condensed the argument contained in the 
" Reasons of Dissent from the judgment and resolution of the Commission, 
March II, 1752, resolving to inflict no censure on the Presbytery of Dun- 
fermline for their disobedience in relation to the settlement of Inverkeith- 
ing." This able paper bears the strong stamp of Robertson's style, and 
has always been considered as the most perfect development of the prin- 
ciples of the Moderate party. 

A.D. 1751.] HOME AND ROBERTSON. 34 1 

labour is already incensed \ and if we do this thing, we throw 
a burning torch into the midst of the temple, and the whole 
building will soon be in a flame. Are there not enough of 
Secession churches already, that we should build more ? And, 
after all, what necessity is there for thus concussing us to a 
conduct contradictory to our principles ? Did not the modera- 
tion of the Church devise a remedy ? has not the Assembly 
itself been in the habit of executing its own sentences? has 
not a committee of men willing to do this work saved the un- 
willing from violating their convictions of duty? and why now 
lay upon us a yoke which our fathers were unable to bear ? * 

At this period, it was very unusual for a young man to 
address the Assembly, unless he were specially asked to do so 
by the Moderator. But the Presbytery of Haddington had 
sent up two commissioners to this Assembly who were resolved 
to break through this rule, and make themselves be heard. 2 
In the course of the debate one of these rose up and moved, 
that the recusant presbyters should be suspended, as the 
punishment of their contumacy. His countenance was frank 
and open, and his speech, though not very argumentative, was 
delivered in an easy, gentlemanlike way. It was John Home 
of Athelstaneford, afterwards known over the wide world as 
the author of the magnificent tragedy of " Douglas." His 
friend rose up to second the motion, and at once caught the 
ear of the Assembly. His argument was so lucid, his sentences 
were so finely balanced, his principles so broad and so fitly 
applied, that though he had never spoken in the Assembly 
before, he at once, by the splendour of his eloquence, eclipsed 
its greatest orators. It was William Robertson, minister of 
Gladsmuir, destined afterwards to become the Principal of the 
University of Edinburgh, the acknowledged leader of the 
Moderate party in the Church, and to acquire undying re- 
nown by his historical works. Only eleven voted for their 
motion; but what had been said was not forgotten. By a 

1 I have here condensed the argument given in a speech at the bar of the 
Assembly in 1 751 in the Torphichen case (see Scots Magazine, March 
1752 ; and Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 200) ; in the Reasons of Dissent in 
the Torphichen case, subscribed by Principal Wishart and others ; and in 
the "Answers to the Reasons of Dissent from the Sentence of the Com- 
mission in the Case of Inverkeithing, March II, 1752, drawn up by the 
Committee appointed for that purpose. " This paper was understood to be 
the composition of Dr Webster ; but its loose argumentation and dis- 
jointed sentences form a sad contrast to the well-compacted composition of 

2 Dugald Stewart's Life and Writings of Principal Robertson. 




majority, however, the Assembly agreed to censure the contu- 
macious presbytery, and they did so in the face of a " dissent," 
subscribed by some of the leading men in the Church. 1 Even 
this was thought at the time a severe sentence. The ob- 
noxious presentee was afterwards inducted by a " riding com- 
mittee "• — the last that was ever appointed — and it is curious to 
find upon it the names of William Robertson, John Home, and 
Hugh Blair. 

The battle was begun, but the issue was still doubtful. It 
was not long till another disputed settlement gave occasion for 
another trial of strength. A Mr Richardson had been pre- 
sented to the parish of Inverkeithing ; but as the great body 
of the people were violently opposed to him, the Presbytery of 
Dunfermline delayed proceeding to his induction. This state 
of affairs was brought before the Commission of Assembly 
which met in November 1751, and the presbytery was ordered 
to proceed to the induction without farther delay, under pain 
of a " very high censure " in case of disobedience. When the 
Commission again met in March 1752, the patron complained 
that still his presentee had not been inducted. " Shall we 
censure the presbytery for their stubborn disobedience ? " was 
keenly debated ; but it carried " No " by a small majority. 
The Popular party had its triumph, but it was only temporary. 
The minister of Gladsmuir and his friends dissented ; they 
drew up their reasons of dissent in an elaborate document 
which bears the strong impress of the historian of Charles V., 
and which may be regarded as the exposition of the opinions 
of the Moderate party ; 2 and so the case was kept open for the 
final adjudication of the General Assembly. 

As usual, the Assembly met in May. It was known that 
the Inverkeithing Case was to show which party were hence- 
forward to be dominant in the Church. The first vote taken 
might have caused a suspicion as to how matters were to go. 
Dr Patrick Gumming, the acknowledged leader of the Mode- 
rates, was raised to the Moderator's chair, though he had 
occupied that dignity only three years before. The Lord High 
Commissioner, the Earl of Leven, did not conceal his senti- 
ments. In his speech from the throne he told the Assembly, 

1 Morren's Annals, vol. i. Stewart's Life and Writings of Robertson. 
A very full account of the Torphichen Case is given in the Appendix to 
the Patronage Report. 

2 A copy of this celebrated paper will be found in Morren's Annals, 
vol. i. 


"The main intention of your meeting is frustrated if your 
judgments and decisions are not held to be final ; if inferior 
courts continue to assume that liberty they have taken upon 
themselves, in too many instances, of disputing and disobeying 
the decisions of their superiors." The case of Inverkeithing 
came on ; the persuasive eloquence of Robertson was again 
heard ; and the Commission was found to have failed to do 
what it was bound to do by the instructions of last Assembly. 
It was then moved that the Presbytery of Dunfermline should 
be appointed to meet at Inverkeithing on the approaching 
Thursday • that all the members should be ordered to attend ; 
that five at least should be a quorum ; and that each of them 
should be bound to appear at the bar of the Assembly on the 
Friday following, and give an account of his conduct. This 
was carried by a large majority. 1 

It was now evident that the Assembly meant to carry things 
with a high hand, and that disobedience would no longer pass 
with impunity. Thursday came round. Three members of 
the Presbytery of Dunfermline met in the church of Inverkeith- 
ing, and waited there from twelve till two o'clock, but none of 
their brethren appeared. Two had been in the town in the 
morning, endeavouring to persuade the people to relax in their 
opposition, that so the presbytery might be relieved from its 
dilemma ; but the people would not yield, and they re- 
luctantly turned their footsteps homewards. In ordinary 
circumstances, the three might have proceeded with the 
induction; but the Assembly, by an unnecessary stretch of 
authority, had raised the usual quorum to five, thus precluding 
them from acting and bringing this painful business to a close. 

On Friday the members of the recusant presbytery stood at 
the bar of the Assembly. Those who had met said so \ those 
who had been at Inverkeithing in the morning mentioned this 
to show that they were willing to go as far as conscience would 
allow. Six of the most resolute of them gave in a " Humble 
Representation/' in which they vindicated their conduct. 
They reminded the Assembly that the law of patronage had 
always been regarded by the Church as a grievance, and as 
contrary to the Union settlement. They quoted the Act of 
1736, forbidding presbyteries to intrude ministers upon parishes 
contrary to the will of the people. They declared that they 
were brought into the unhappy dilemma of either disobeying 
their ecclesiastical superiors, or of contributing to the over- 
1 Morren's Annals vol. i. p. 263. 


throw of the recognised principles and truest interests of the 
Church. The reading of this document was followed by a dis- 
cussion, which ended in the Assembly resolving, by a majority 
of ninety-three to sixty-five, to depose one of the recusant 
presbyters. This was one day's work. 1 

Next day the mutinous ecclesiastics were called in, one by 
one, and asked if they had anything farther to offer in their 
defence. The others said little or nothing; but Thomas 
Gillespie, minister of Carnock, read another "Humble Repre- 
sentation," in which he referred to some members of Assembly 
who had thought that the accused had aggravated their offence 
by representing patronage as a grievance in the Church, and 
as contrary to the Articles of Union; and quoted from the 
Records of the Assembly as authority for what had been said. 
The paper was not received. 

The Assembly had resolved that one of the mutineers 
should be deposed; but still the delicate question remained — 
Which of the six should be singled out as the victim to bear 
the sins of the whole ? In this ecclesiastical ostracism, fifty- 
two votes concentrated upon Gillespie ; not more than one 
was given against any other of the delinquents. One hundred 
and two members declined giving any vote in a question so 
painful. 1 

The lot had fallen upon Gillespie, and he was deposed. 
The spirit in which he received his sentence must make us 
respect him. " Moderator," said he, " I desire to receive this 
sentence of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 
pronounced against me with real concern, and awful impres- 
sions of the divine conduct in it ; but I rejoice that to me it 
is given, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but 
also to suffer for His sake." It is not quite clear why the 
Assembly should have singled out for sacrifice a man so 
upright, so conscientious, so inoffensive as Gillespie certainly 
was. He had never taken a prominent part in ecclesiastical 
affairs, and his conduct at this testing time shows that bitter- 
ness was not in him. Perhaps the reading of the second 
representation was the cause ; for though that representation 
is expressed in language quite respectful to the Assembly, yet 
it alluded to topics which some members did not like to hear, 

1 Acts of the Assembly, pp. 707-9. Morren's Annals, vol. i. p. 267. 
Appendix to Patronage Report. 

2 Acts of the Assembly, pp. 709, 710. Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 
268, 269. 


and perhaps might be construed into something like taking 
the last word of scolding. The minute of the Assembly bears 
that he was deposed for " repeated acts of disobedience, 
adhered to tenaciously when at the bar." 

But there were other circumstances which probably con- 
spired with this. Gillespie, when a student of divinity, had 
gone to Perth to hear the lectures of the professor appointed 
by the Secession Church. Ten days were enough to disgust 
him, and he left an atmosphere so close that no free-thinking 
man could breathe it and live. Still he had been there. He 
afterwards went to England, joined a body of Dissenters, and 
received ordination from a presbytery which had among its 
members the celebrated Dr Doddridge. It is singular that 
when he received the presentation to Carnock, no obstacle 
was thrown in his way from this circumstance. He was, in 
fact, an example of a Dissenter readily received into the 
bosom of the Church. It is still more remarkable, that when 
he signed the Confession of Faith and Formula, he did so 
with an explanation regarding the power of the civil magis- 
trate. 1 It is not improbable that many of the members of the 
Assembly may have said it was fitting that this troubler of 
their Zion should be sent back whence he came. He was 
not of them, though he was with them. He was an alien at 
best. If a case of the same kind were occurring in the 
present day, it is probable less sympathy would be exhibited 
for a Dissenter received into the Church than for a man who 
had been born and bred in it. It must be remembered that 
no very strong reason is necessary to account for his being 
marked out as the sufferer. Six men had committed the 
same crime, and were in the same condemnation, and it was 
necessary that one should be chosen. When the balance is 
in equilibrio a single grain of dust will turn it. 

But what was the cause of the sudden change in the 
Church's policy ? Ministers had never been deposed for 
refusing to induct obnoxious presentees before ; why should 
they now? Only eleven men in the Assembly of 1751 voted 
for suspending the mutineers of Linlithgow; how came it 
that a large majority of the Assembly of 1752 voted for 
deposing one of the mutineers of Dunfermline? The ex- 
planation of the fact does not lie very deep. There had for 
many years been a growing tendency to give effect to the law 

1 Life of Gillespie, in Lives of United Presbyterian Fathers. Morren's 
Annals, vol. i. p. 276. 


of patronage. Recent circumstances had confirmed this 
tendency. The cases of Culross and Lanark had opened the 
eyes of churchmen to the awkward fact, that if a minister were 
inducted into a parish without a valid presentation, he could 
not claim the stipend, and must starve. 1 A series of such 
cases, it was seen, would effectually disestablish the Church. 

But still further, when but a year ago the Church asked the 
parliament to do something to relieve its poverty, a paper was 
put in circulation among the members of the legislature, tell- 
ing how the Act of Queen Anne touching patronage was dis- 
regarded, and how many of the Scotch ministers held their 
livings in defiance of the law \ and this was known to have 
prejudiced many of the English Commoners against the 
Augmentation Scheme. 2 This reproach must be wiped away ; 
the law must be obeyed ; the rights of patrons respected ; and 
presbyteries compelled to carry out the sentences of the supe- 
rior courts. In the case of Torphichen, the screw was first 
applied. The presbytery was censured ; but the punishment 
was found not to be sufficiently severe. It had not intimi- 
dated others into subjection. A heavier punishment must be 
inflicted, if the authority of the Assembly was to be main- 
tained. The case of Inverkeithing occurred, and Gillespie 
was deposed. It is probable that the older men, accustomed 
from their youth to refractory presbyteries and riding com- 
missions, would have shrunk from such a decisive step. But 
young men had sprung up with strong wills, decided opinions, 
and abilities sufficient to make themselves be heard and re- 
spected. It is not too much to say that William Robertson, 
Hugh Blair, and John Home were the master-spirits in the 

1 The case of Lanark was not finally decided in the House of Lords 
till 1753; but the case of Culross, and the ground taken by the Crown 
in the case of Lanark, must have had a strong influence on the minds of 

2 In this paper it is said — " It appears that the presbyteries of Scotland 
pay very little or no regard to this law (10 Anne, cap. 12); and that, in 
direct disobedience to it, they frequently refuse to enter the patron's 
presentee ; and, for the most part, moderate the call of another person 
named to them by the Christian people, as they are called— the heritors 
or the elders. It is therefore submitted that a great part of the persons 
who now apply to parliament for relief with respect to their stipends 
became entitled to them by a breach and in opposition to a law made by 
the parliament of Great Britain, that in case the wisdom of parliament 
shall incline to indulge the clergy with any alleviation of the law as to 
these matters, they will, at the same time, make effectual provisions for 
enforcing a due obedience to the Act of the 10th of Queen Anne." 

A.D. 1752.1 THE NEW POLICY. 347 

movement. Dr dimming, whose days were now numbered, 
as leader of the Moderates, in closing the Assembly, thought 
himself bound to make some apology for the youth of the men 
who had influenced its measures — it was young men, said he, 
in defence of our old constitution. 1 

Though it is perfectly certain that the Presbyterian govern- 
ment implies subordination of the presbytery to the General 
Assembly, and of every individual member to the whole 
Church, it is impossible to resist the feeling that Gillespie was 
hardly dealt with. His only crime was absence from a presby- 
tery, met for a purpose of which he disapproved ; and the 
induction of Richardson might have been effected without 
him, had the Assembly not arbitrarily raised the quorum from 
three to five. It was known that there were three men in the 
presbytery willing to brave the popular indignation by induct 
ing the presentee ; it was all that the law required, and why 
should the Assembly require more ? There was no need of 
wounding consciences unnecessarily. It looks as if the Mode- 
rate party had been resolved, not merely to effect this settle- 
ment, but to crush the party opposed to them. They accom- 
plished their end ; they achieved a decisive victory ; but it 
was at the expense of a second schism in the Church. 
Gillespie, as we shall afterwards see, became the father and 
founder of the Presbytery of Relief. 

Some of the Seceders remained in the Church for years 
after they were deposed. Gillespie at once abandoned his 
church, his manse, his stipend. During the summer and 
autumn following his deposition he preached in the fields. 
In his very first sermon, instead of heaping calumnies upon 
the Church, as the Seceders had, and as might have been 
expected in his circumstances, he told his hearers that, 
though he had been deposed for not doing what he believed 
it would have been sinful in him to have done, yet he hoped 
no public disputes should ever be the burden of his preach- 
ing, as he knew that the wrath of man worked not the right- 
eousness of God. When winter approached he retired to a 
meeting-house provided for him in Dunfermline. 2 

In the month of June a sufficient number of the Presbytery 
of Dunfermline were got together to induct Richardson ; but 
three, who were still resolute in their disobedience, were sus- 

1 Morren's Annals, vol. i. 

2 Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 275, 276. Life of Gillespie in United 
Presbyterian Fathers. 


pended from their judicial functions, and continued under this 
sentence for thirteen years. 

The summary deposition of Gillespie led to much discus- 
sion throughout the Church. Some declared that presby- 
teries were now subjected to a tyranny too heavy to be 
borne ; others said that the law had simply been vindicated, 
and the transgression of it punished. These opposite feelings 
entered into sermons ; they even mingled with prayers. 
Synods and presbyteries took up the matter, and arrived at 
various conclusions. The Synod of Glasgow and Ayr ranged 
itself on the liberal side ; the Synod of Lothian and Tweed- 
dale declared itself for law and order, come what might. 1 It 
was hoped by many that the Assembly of 1753 would restore 
Gillespie. It was thought that enough had been done to 
magnify the authority of the supreme court, and that mercy 
might now follow in the footsteps of judgment. The people 
of Carnock petitioned for his restoration. The Presbytery 
of Dunfermline petitioned for it. By the narrow majority of 
three the Assembly refused their prayer. 2 It is evident that 
Gillespie had himself been looking forward to restoration ; but 
disappointed in his hopes, he now reluctantly formed a kirk- 
session, and began to administer the sacraments to those who 
adhered to him. Baffled and beat in the courts of the Church, 
the Popular party sought their revenge in the Press. Early in 
1753, Witherspoon published his " Ecclesiastical Characteris- 
tics, or the Arcana of Church Policy/' in which he described, 
with a keen and delicate irony, almost worthy of Pascal, the 
progress of Moderatism. 

David Hume had now been long known to the metaphysi- 
cal and literary world. So far back as 1738 he had published 
his celebrated " Treatise of Human Nature," in which, 
following out the speculations of Locke and Berkeley to their 
legitimate conclusion, he had shown that man has no know- 
ledge, and can have no knowledge of anything beyond his 
own ideas and impressions. He was only twenty-five years 
of age at the time ; but his speculations were so bold and 
original as at once to place him in the foremost rank of 
philosophers. Both Kant and Reid acknowledged that they 
were first roused from their dogmatism by his scepticism. 
He afterwards, at different dates, published his " Essays, 
Moral and Political," and his " Inquiry Concerning the 

1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 1-8. 

- Morren's Annals, vol. i. pp. 277, 278. 

4.D. 1753.] DAVID HUME. 349 

Human Understanding/' in which some of the crudities of 
his juvenile composition are corrected, and his system of 
scepticism is more fully developed. Some of his Essays are 
among the most perfect in our language, whether we consider 
the simple beauty of their diction, or the fine philosophic 
truths they contain. But, unhappily, in some of his specula- 
tions he has entered, not with unsandaled foot, the sacred 
domain of morals and religion, and left untouched very little 
which we can either piously believe or virtuously do. In his 
" Natural History of Religion/' he more than insinuates 
doubts as to the solidity of the foundations upon which 
natural theology is built ; and in his " Essay on Miracles," bor- 
rowing his weapons from the armoury of the Church, appro- 
priating to his use the argument of Tillotson upon transub- 
stantiation, he attempts to demonstrate the startling proposi- 
tion, that " no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, 
unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood 
would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours 
to establish." 

Yet, with all his philosophical scepticism, Hume was a man 
of exemplary morals, of genuine benevolence, and of an 
almost childlike simplicity and guilelessness of disposition. 
He never intruded his peculiar opinions upon general society, 
so that even clergymen could mingle in the same society with 
him, and often did so, without hearing a word to wound their 
feelings or dishonour their faith. He is pronounced by his 
illustrious biographer, Adam Smith, to be the most perfectly 
wise and virtuous man he had ever known. " He had, it 
might be said, in the language which the Grecian historian 
applies to an illustrious Roman, two minds : one which in- 
dulged in the metaphysical scepticism which his genius could 
invent, but which it could not always disentangle ; another, 
simple, natural, and playful, which made his conversation 
delightful to his friends, and even frequently conciliated men 
whose principles of belief his philosophical doubts, if they had 
not power to shake, had grieved and offended." : 

Contemporary with Mr Hume was Henry Home, Lord 
Karnes. Possessed of great activity of mind and versatility 
of genius, this accomplished man relieved the drudgery of 
his professional toil by the study of metaphysics, and in 1751 
published his " Essays on the Principles of Morality and 
Natural Religion." Unlike Mr Hume, Lord Karnes was no 
1 Henry Mackenzie's Life of John Home, p. 21. 


unbeliever ; he was an elder in the Church ; and one of the 
topics insisted upon in his Essays is the existence of the 
innate ideas of right and wrong. He was, however, a free- 
thinking man, and had upon some points expressed himself 
in such a way as to make some religionists believe that, 
under the profession of Christianity, he concealed a baleful 
infidelity. He had especially given offence by declaring 
that the existence of an all-pervading Deity was inconsistent 
with liberty of action in man ; and that the liberty which 
every man fancies himself to possess was a delusion kindly 
implanted in his bosom by nature, as necessary to the exist- 
ence of virtue. 

There lived at this time a Mr George Anderson, who held 
the post of Chaplain in Watson's Hospital at Edinburgh. 
He had no great acuteness, but he possessed vigour of mind, 
and was of an irascible and pugnacious disposition. At the 
age of eighty, when most polemics are putting off their 
armour, he was putting his on, to run a tilt with Henry 
Home of Karnes. In a pamphlet, entitled an " Estimate of 
the Profit and Loss of Religion, personally and publicly 
stated," he impugned the Essays as opposed to both religion 
and morals. This called public attention to the subject. 
The first stroke was struck. In May 1755 an anonymous 
pamphlet appeared, addressed to the members of the General 
Assembly, then sitting. It professed to be an analysis of the 
writings of Henry Home and David Hume ; it gave a list of 
propositions alleged to be taught by them, and proved this 
by passages extracted from their works. 1 The Assembly, 
thus called to consider the matter, passed an act, expressing 
deep concern at the prevalence of infidelity and immorality, 
and enjoining ministers carefully to guard their flocks against 
their contagion. 2 In all this the Church did wisely and 

But the matter was not at an end. A few days after the 
Assembly rose, there appeared a pamphlet, entitled " Obser- 
vations on the Analysis of the Moral and Religious Senti- 
ments," &c, which was generally attributed to Dr Hugh 
Blair, then at the height of his popularity as a preacher. 
Just a year before this he had been brought to fill the pulpit 
of Lady Yester's, and was fascinating fashionable audiences 
by sermons which still remain to us, and are certainly elegant 
in their didactic structure ; but which have neither the fancy 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 54-58. 2 Acts of Assembly, p. 721. 

A.D. 1756.] HUME THREATENED. 351 

of Taylor, the fervour of Chalmers, nor the stately march of 
Robert Hall. He was the personal friend of both Hume and 
Home ; and no doubt it was his friendship that made him 
come to their rescue at the risk of suffering in his own reputa- 
tion. He reprobates any attempt to restrain the freedom of 
inquiry ; he defends Lord Karnes, by alleging that the 
quotations from his works were unfairly given ; and, while he 
allows that Mr Hume had taught many things inconsistent 
with sound doctrine, he remarks that there was therefore the 
less need to ascribe to him other opinions which he did not 

This pamphlet was followed by others ; and when the 
Assembly again met in 1756, the subject was resumed. Some 
members of the House thought that the general censure of in- 
fidelity was not enough ; that the cause of truth and piety 
required a special censure, in which the infidels should be 
openly named, held up to abhorrence, and anathematized. 
There was a disposition to say nothing about Lord Karnes, 
probably from the respect felt for the judicial bench ; but it 
was thought that regarding David Hume there need be no 
such delicacy. The matter was brought before the Committee 
of Overtures. It was proposed that a committee should be 
appointed to investigate his writings, to call him before them, 
and to ripen matters for a report to next Assembly. But there 
were many who thought that this would answer no good pur- 
pose. It was urged that it was vain to think that the censures 
of the Church would convince him of his errors, or lead him 
to retract them. It was argued, that if the subjects in debate 
were once opened up, they would lead to discussions regard- 
ing the highest problems in metaphysics and morals, of which 
it was impossible to see the end ; and that such discussions, 
of which the history of the Church afforded many examples, 
had only marred the comfort and shaken the convictions of 
the faithful. It was said that anything like persecution — any- 
thing like an attempt to revive the Inquisition, or to establish 
an " Index Expurgatorius " — would only make Mr Hume's 
writings more widely known and more greedily read than they 
were. Last of all it was maintained, that Mr Hume was not 
within the Church, and that therefore he was not a proper 
subject of its discipline. These arguments prevailed ; the 
matter never got beyond the committee ; and Hume w? F 
saved from the excommunication which was threatened. 1 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 86-92. 


The conduct of the Church ever since appears to be the 
best vindication of this Assembly. There have been infidels 
since the days of Hume ; but the Church has never thought 
it meet to summon them to its bar, or to pronounce upon them 
its anathemas. There are infidels now, but no one would urge 
such a course. It is wiser to encounter infidelity with argu- 
ments, than to attempt to overawe it with authority. Happily 
the Church at the very time we speak of had men within its 
pale no mean antagonists even for Hume. In the quiet parish 
of New Machar, Thomas Reid was cultivating that metaphysi- 
cal genius which was afterwards to assail the universal scep- 
ticism of Hume, and to bring back philosophy from her 
wanderings, and join her in wedlock to common sense. And 
not far away, in Banchory-Ternan, by the banks of the Dee, 
George Campbell was preparing himself for unravelling the 
subtle sophistry of the " Essay on Miracles," and vindicating 
the evidence of the Christian religion. 

Though Lord Karnes escaped the criticism of the Assembly, 
his old assailant, George Anderson, brought his treatise before 
the Presbytery of Edinburgh ; and having done so, he died. 
The complaint was nominally against the publishers, as the 
book was anonymous ; but Karnes was not a little annoyed at 
being virtually arraigned for heresy, and charged with opinions 
which he strenuously declared that he did not hold. More 
instructed in law and philosophy than divinity, he was greatly 
relieved, however, by learning for the first time that Augustine, 
Calvin, and Pictet held opinions regarding human necessity 
akin to his own ; and afterwards defended himself by the 
authority of Jonathan Edwards, whose celebrated " Treatise 
on the Freedom of the Will " had been recently published. 
The presbytery dismissed the complaint ; and Lord Karnes 
afterwards exhibited his candour by publicly retracting some 
of his errors. 1 

But the Church had now to pass from the quiet groves of 
the Academy to the glare and uproar of the theatre. John 
Home had composed his tragedy of " Douglas." He had 
travelled on horseback, with his play in his saddlebag, all the 
long way to London, to ask Garrick to bring it out at Drury 
Lane ; but Garrick chagrined the young poet by declaring it 
was altogether unfit for representation on the stage. Home's 
friends, who had formed an exalted opinion of the production, 

1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 92-98. MoncreifFs Life of Dr Erskine, 

A.D. 1756.] TRAGEDY OF DOUGLAS. 3$3 

recommended him to try it in the humble abode of the Tragic 
Muse, in the Canongate of Edinburgh. Arrangements were 
accordingly made with the managers ; and the lovers of 
theatricals were informed that, on the 14th of December 1756, 
the tragedy of " Douglas " would be performed. The town 
was in a state of high excitement, curious to hear what kind 
of drama could be written by a Scotchman, and by a minister 
of the Established Church. 1 Expectation was increased by 
snatches of the piece which were repeated by friends of the 
author at literary tea-parties, There were whispers among 
the initiated few of how, at a private rehearsal, the parts had 
been taken by the most celebrated men of the day ; of how 
Robertson, the future historian, had acted Lord Randolph ; 
David Hume, Glenalvon ; Dr Carlyle, Old Norval ; John 
Home, Douglas ; Dr Adam Ferguson, Lady Randolph ; and 
Hugh Blair, Anna, the maid : and how Lord Elibank, Lord 
Milton, Lord Karnes, and Lord Monboddo had acted the 
audience, and given their applause. 2 

The night came, and the theatre was crowded with ex- 
pectant citizens. Among the audience were observed several 
clergymen, who had been led there partly by curiosity, partly 
to give their plaudits to the play, and partly by a chivalrous 
desire to share with Home the odium of being connected with 
the stage. Some of them skulked in corners ; but prominent 
in one of the side-boxes was seen Dr Carlyle of Inveresk, 
with his powerful frame and noble head, so like to the head 
which the Latin sculptors delighted to give to their Jupiter 
Tonans. A man beside him, under the influence of drink, 
ventured to be noisy and rude, and the divine did not hesitate 
to turn him out. The play proceeded ; the applause became 
enthusiastic ; and at the more tender passages the audience 
was drowned in tears, " The town," says Dr Carlyle (and 
" I can vouch how truly," says Henry Mackenzie), " was in an 
uproar of exultation that a Scotsman should write a tragedy of 

1 Mackenzie's Life of Home. 

2 Mackenzie does not mention this circumstance, which makes it doubt* 
ful. It was stated in the " Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle," January 21, 
1829, and is quoted by Chambers, in his Lives of Illustrious Scotsmen. 
The thing is not at all unlikely; but it is probable it was nothing more 
than what would now be called " a reading." Dr Carlyle states that he, 
Lord Elibank, Dr Ferguson, and David Ilume were twice present at the 
rehearsals of the actors. It may have been upon this the story was 
founded. Autobiography, p. 311. 



the first rate, and that its merits were first submitted to 
them." 1 

But this exultation was not unmingled with other feelings. 
Many good men were scandalized that a minister should write 
a play, and that ministers should be present at its performance. 
On the 5th of January 1757, the Presbytery of Edinburgh 
issued an "Admonition and Exhortation to all within their 
bounds. " They referred to " the unprecedented countenance 
which had recently been given to the playhouse ; " they spoke 
of the sentiments of abhorrence which the Church had always 
entertained in regard to players and plays ; they pointed to 
the number of young men and women who were seduced and 
ruined by a love for the stage \ and quoted acts of the Presby- 
tery and acts of the parliament denouncing theatricals. 2 This 
admonition only provoked ridicule on the part of the public. 
Parodies, epigrams, and songs were poured forth by the wits 
of the Parliament-house and the town. Dr Adam Ferguson, 
a licentiate of the Church, and author of the " Roman Re- 
public,'' published anonymously a serious pamphlet, entitled, 
" The Morality of Stage Plays Considered," in which he 
defended dramatic compositions from the examples in Scrip- 
ture, especially the story of Joseph and his brethren ; and 
alleged, with truth, that the only act of Assembly touching 
the matter was one prohibiting plays from being made on the 
canonical parts of Scripture, or being performed on a Sunday. 
Dr Carlyle, the fast friend of Home, wrote an ironical squib, 
under the title of " Reasons why the Tragedy of Douglas 
should be burned by the hands of the Common Hangman ; n 
and afterwards another, suited to the lower ranks of the people, 
and which was hawked about the streets as a " History of the 
Bloody Tragedy of Douglas, as it is now performing at the 
Theatre in the Canongate." The name of the minister of 
Inveresk was of course concealed ; but the effect of the squib 
was to add two more nights to the unprecedented run of the 
play. 3 

But the Presbytery of Edinburgh was not to be deterred 
from what it conceived to be its duty by either ridicule or 
reason. It summoned to its bar Mr White, the minister oi 
Liberton, on the charge of having been present in the play- 

1 Mackenzie's Life of Home. Carlyle says it was at the third repre- 
sentation he was present. Autobiography, p. 314. 
>2 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 1 12-14. 
3 Mackenzie's Life of Home. Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 312-14, 


house. The humbled delinquent acknowledged the charge ; 
but pleaded, by way of alleviation, that he had gone only once ; 
that he had endeavoured to conceal himself in a corner, to 
avoid giving offence ; and expressed his resolution to be more 
circumspect in the future. He was suspended for a short 
period from his office, as the punishment of his crime. Not 
satisfied with punishing the delinquents among themselves, the 
metropolitan presbytery carefully searched out the names of all 
the ministers who had been present on the fatal night, and 
sent information of it to their respective presbyteries. Accord- 
ingly, Mr Steele of Stair, Mr Scott of Westruther, Mr Cupples 
of Swinton, Mr Home of Polwarth, and Mr Dysart of Eccles, 
were all hauled before their respective presbyteries, and, hav- 
ing made their submissions, were rebuked. The minister of 
Stair pleaded that the playhouse was so far away from his 
parish, he had no reason to apprehend that he would be known, 
or that his presence would give offence ; but the plea did not 
altogether save him. 1 

The Presbytery of Haddington commenced proceedings 
against the minister of Athelstaneford, " the head and front of 
the offending." Mr Home, w r hen first cited, asked for delay, 
and after a little hesitation resigned his charge ; and by so 
doing, in all probability, saved himself from deposition. Mr 
Robertson was still a member of this presbytery. He had 
never entered the theatre, and so was free from any imputation 
himself; and yet, with all his ability and all his influence, he 
could not save the author of " Douglas " from disgrace, so 
strong was the tide running against him. 2 

The other delinquents had bowed themselves to the cen- 
sures of the Church, but Carlyle was not so disposed. When 
called before the Presbytery of Dalkeith, he neither confessed 
his sin nor affected sorrow. He was accordingly served with a 
libel, in which he was charged with familiarly keeping com- 
pany with players, who were all, in the eye of the law, of bad 
fame; with attending the rehearsal of the tragedy of " Douglas," 
and giving directions to the actors ; and with appearing openly 
in the playhouse in the Canongate, taking possession of a box 
in a disorderly way, and turning out some gentlemen in it. 
The case was carried to the higher courts ; the Synod of 
Lothian and Tweeddale rejected the libel, but administered a 

1 Morrens Annals, vol. ii. pp. 1 1519. Mackenzie's Life of Home. 

2 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 117, 118. Dugald Stewart's Life and 
Writings of Robertson, p. 12. 


rebuke to the offender, and this sentence was afterwards con- 
firmed by the General Assembly. 1 The censure does not 
appear to have affected his popularity in the Church, for two 
years afterwards he was chosen to preach before the High 
Commissioner; in 1770 he was raised to the Moderator's 
chair; in 1789 he was all but chosen principal clerk of the 
Assembly ; and on till the time of his death, at the advanced 
age of eighty-four, he occupied one of the highest positions in 
the Church. " The grandest demigod I ever saw/' says Sir 
Walter Scott, "was Dr Carlyle, commonly called Jupiter 
Carlyle, from having sat more than once for the king of gods 
and men, and a shrewd clever old carl was he." 

The termination of the proceedings before the Church 
Courts did not terminate the controversy they had originated ; 
— nor is it terminated yet. The one party declared that never 
since the day when Galileo was thrown into the prison of the 
Inquisition, for saying that the earth revolved round the sun, 
had anything so disgraceful to the Church occurred. Home 
had written the noblest drama of which his country could 
boast, and for this he was compelled to evacuate his parish by 
the terrors of deposition. The Church had degraded the man 
whom all ages would delight to honour. Was there anything 
essentially sinful in dramatic composition ? If there were bad 
plays, might there not be good plays ? and was it not so with 
" Douglas ? " Was not its morality faultless ? and were not 
the feelings it delineated the noblest that can fill the breast — 
the love of a mother for a lost child, and the ambition of a 
youth to excel? And why this horror of the theatre? Is not 
man so framed by God that he must have amusements ? And 
if he is denied the amusement resulting from theatrical repre- 
sentations, is it not certain that he will seek for excitement of 
a coarser and more ruinous kind ? Has it not been proved 
by experience, is it not written in the registers of police-courts, 
that when theatres are shut crime increases ? 

It was argued, on the other side, that the playhouse had 
ever been the favourite haunt of vice. The question was not 
— What was the duty of Christians supposing the stage purified 
from immorality? but — What was the duty of Christians look- 
ing at the stage simply as it was, notoriously immoral? Were 
not the great majority of plays, even those of Shakspeare him- 
self, confessedly obscene ? Were not things spouted on the 

1 Morrcn's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 122-29. Carlyle's Autobiography, pp, 

A.D. 1757.] THE PLAYHOUSE. 357 

stage which could not be repeated in the parlour? Were not 
many pure minds first familiarised with vice by seeing it re- 
presented on the boards of a theatre ? many consciences so 
seared that they never afterwards recovered their tenderness ? 
And how could the play of " Douglas " be defended on high 
Christian principles ? Did it not use language which looked 
very like swearing ? Did it not give its sanction to something 
very like suicide ? 

Such were the arguments of the opposite parties ; and, as is 
usual, there is truth on both sides. Let us try the question by 
the light of the present day, now that the world is a century 
older. Would the author of such a play as " Douglas " be 
dragged before the Church Courts and deposed now ? It is 
certain that Home is generally mentioned as a man of whom 
his country is proud ; and it is certain, too, that never since 
he left Athelstaneford, amid the regrets of his people, has 
Dramatic Poesy visited one of the manses of Scotland, so 
rudely was she frightened away. Dr Carlyle affirms that in 
his own day there was such a change in public opinion, that 
in 1784, when Mrs Siddons acted in Edinburgh, during the 
sitting of the Assembly, the Court was obliged to fix its most 
important business for the alternate days, when she did not 
act, as all the younger members, clerical as well as lay, flocked 
to hear the great Tragedy Queen. 1 

But we must now revert for a little to the operation of 
patronage. The Moderate party had been gradually gaining 
in strength. Less and less attention was being paid to the 
call. In every disputed case the General Assembly ordered 
the man who held the presentation to be settled in the parish, 
however obnoxious he might be to the people ; and the pres- 
byteries, awed by the example of Dunfermline, did not in 
general venture to resist. Among the cases which occurred, 
that of Nigg, a wild parish in Ross-shire, was perhaps the most 
remarkable. When the presbytery met in the parish church 
to induct a Mr Grant, whose character was equivocal, but who 
held a presentation, not a creature connected with the parish 
appeared but one man, who was commissioned to tell them 
that the blood of the parish of Nigg would be required of them, 
if they should settle a man to the walls of the church. The 
presbytery had proceeded thus far with the greatest reluctance; 
but, startled by this strange apparition, they hesitated to pro- 
ceed further, and resolved to lav the case before the Assembly. 
1 Autobiography, p. 322, 


The Assembly heard their tale, rebuked them for their cowar- 
dice, and enjoined them to proceed. 1 

The parish of Jedburgh became vacant about the same 
time, and the magistrates of the town, the elders of the Church, 
and the great majority of the people, set their hearts upon 
Thomas Boston of Oxnam, son of Thomas Boston of Ettrick, 
now in his grave. But first one minister was presented ; and 
when he withdrew, on account of the opposition of the people, 
another was presented, more obnoxious than the first. The 
people of Jedburgh resolved to abandon the walls of their old 
abbey, and erect a meeting-house, where they could hear the 
gospel preached to them by the lips of a man whom they 
loved. By the month of December 1757 their church was 
erected ; and Boston, abandoning Oxnam, where he had only 
^90 a year, received ^120 from the pious liberality of the 
people who rallied around him. 2 

In 1759 the Earl of Balcarras presented Dr Chalmers ot 
Elie to the church of Kilconquhar. The people almost to a 
man opposed his settlement. The Presbytery of St Andrews 
and the Synod of Fife, sympathising with the people, delayed 
to proceed ; but the Assembly had no such sympathies, and 
ordered the presbytery to carry the translation of Dr Chalmers 
into effect. The people in such cases had now found out a 
remedy. In the populous village of Colinsburgh they built a 
church, and invited a Mr Colier from England to come and 
be their minister. 

All this time Mr Gillespie was living and labouring at 
Dunfermline. His abilities were not high ; but his piety was 
sincere, the cause in which he had suffered was dear to the 
people, and a numerous congregation clustered round his 
pulpit. At his first dispensation of the sacrament of the 
Supper, he asked some of his old friends in the Established 
Church to give him their assistance ; but, afraid of the con- 
sequences, they refused. The good man still loved the 
Church in which he had ministered, and rather than seek 
assistance elsewhere, he resolved to take the whole burden of 
the work upon himself. In those days it was no light load ; 
yet at thirteen different sacramental seasons, stretching over 
five or six years, he manfully bore it. On each of these occa- 

1 See the Appendix to the Patronage Report, where the case is fully 
stated. Also Morren's Annals, vol. ii. 

2 Historical Sketch of the Relief Church. 

A.D. 1759-61.] PRESBYTERY OF RELIEF. 359 

sions, within five days, he preached not less than nine sermons, 
and addressed seven or eight tables. 1 

When Boston set up his tabernacle at Jedburgh, he invited 
Gillespie to come and assist him. Their principles were the 
same \ Gillespie loved the son for the father's sake, and went. 2 
Thus these two men were joined together in a common cause. 
Colier was afterwards invited by the people of Kilconquhar on 
their recommendation \ and, of course, when he came, he 
joined in their brotherhood. But why should they not be 
bound together by ecclesiastical ties ? They were all Presby- 
terians ; why should they not join themselves together in a 
Presbytery ? Gillespie had long stood alone, hut now he was 
convinced that matters were ripe for such an issue. The door 
of the Established Church seemed to be hopelessly barred 
against him. Cast out by it, what better could he do than 
seek for union and communion with those who thought and 
felt like himself. On the 22d of October 1761, the three 
ministers, Gillespie, Boston, and Colier, each accompanied by 
an elder, met at Colinsburgh, and constituted themselves into 
a presbytery, calling it the Presbytery of Relief. It was to 
be the refuge of all those who sought relief from the evils of 
patronage. 3 

Thus the foundation of another Dissenting Church was 
laid. The unrelenting rigour of the General Assembly did 
it. Why should not Gillespie have been invited back, as the 
Erskines were? Gillespie never lost his attachment to the 
Church, as the Erskines had. Time after time his friends 
moved the Assembly to restore him ; but still the Assembly 
refused to do it. Its coldness did not diminish his love. 
On his deathbed he recommended his congregation to re-seek 
the communion of the Established Church, which it actually 
did ; but it was many years before the Assembly stooped to 
receive it. 


Hume's " Essay on Miracles " had never yet been satisfac- 
torily answered. Hume himself thought it unanswerable ; 

1 This fact was stated by the proprietors of his chapel, in seeking re- 
admittance to the Established Church. It is also stated by Dr Erskine, 
in his Introduction to one of Gillespie's works. See Morren, vol. i 
PP; 258, 279. 

2 Life of Gillespie ; and Historical Sketch of the Relief Church, p. 278. 
a Historical Sketch of the Relief Church, pp. 284-87. 



and, in truth, one may almost pardon him for thinking so. It 
is undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of reasoning in our 
language. The chain seems perfect in every link. No 
ordinary eye-sight could discover the flaw. But Dr George 
Campbell, Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen, one of 
the ablest men the Church of Scotland has produced, now de- 
tected and exposed the weak point of the celebrated argument. 
A man so eminent deserves a more than passing notice. 

He was born at Aberdeen in 17 19 ; and, after completing 
the usual course of training for the ministry, was presented to 
the parish of Banchory-Ternan, which sweetly lies on the 
banks of the Dee, midway between the granite city and the 
wild scenery of Braemar, where royalty has now found a re- 
treat. In this rural scene he remained for nine years, almost 
unconsciously disciplining his mind for positions of greater 
dignity and wider usefulness. In 1757 he was removed to 
one of the churches of his native city : and two years after- 
wards, by the interest of the Duke of Argyll, he was promoted 
to the principality of Marischal College. He proved that he 
was worthy of the place, by publishing his " Dissertation on 
Miracles" in 1762. 

Mr Hume had maintained that belief depends upon ex- 
perience. Thus, our belief of any fact attested by witnesses 
results from our experience of the usual conformity of facts 
to testimony. " But a miracle," says he, " is a violation of the 
laws of nature ; and as a firm and unalterable experience has 
established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the 
very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from ex- 
perience can possibly be imagined." The laws of nature, in 
fact, rest upon the authority of a uniform and universal ex- 
perience; if experience contradicted them they would no 
longer be laws ; and as no testimony can be stronger than 
such an experience, no testimony can establish a miracle. The 
evidence of testimony cannot subvert the evidence of ex- 
perience, for our belief in testimony depends upon experience. 

In opposition to this, Dr Campbell maintained that testi- 
mony has a natural and original influence upon belief ante- 
cedent to all experience ; and, consequently, that Mr Hume's 
argument is based on a false hypothesis. Inexperienced 
childhood, says he, is credulous ; experienced age is distrust- 
ful. Experience, instead of creating belief, rather modifies 
it ; and, from the original constitution of our minds, we are 
inclined to give credence to testimony, till it is overborne by 


experience, and new testimony instantly makes us mistrust 
our old experience. 

The sight of an apple falling from a tree is said to have 
suggested to Newton, as he sat in his garden, the law of gravi- 
tation ; the sight of a ferry-boat is said to have suggested to 
Dr Campbell, as he mused by the banks of the Dee, his argu- 
ment on miracles. He introduces the illustration which is 
said to have suggested the thought. Supposing, he argues, 
that he had seen a ferry-boat cross and recross the river a 
thousand times in safety, if a man came and assured him that 
it had been swept down the stream, in this man's testimony, 
though opposed to his past experience, he had probable evi- 
dence of the fact, and this probability might afterwards be 
strengthened into certainty by concurrent testimony. Nor 
did testimony in this case contradict experience, for they re- 
lated to different facts. 

But Dr Campbell further argued, that the experience which 
established the laws of nature was not distinct from testimony, 
as our individual experience was necessarily limited, and we 
were obliged to rely upon the statements of others. Nor was 
it true that a universal experience had established the laws of 
nature, as the histories of all nations were full of the accounts 
of deviations from them. Experience, therefore, was not the 
basis of belief. 

But not satisfied with overthrowing the position upon which 
Mr Hume had reared his argument, Dr Campbell attacked the 
argument itself. Experience, he said, vouched for the past, 
but not for the future. Things were happening every day con- 
trary to our past experience, and yet we readily believed them. 
In such a case, experience and testimony do not contradict 
each other : experience simply declares that such a thing does 
not usually happen ; testimony declares that it has happened 
in this particular instance. 

Dr Campbell's Dissertation is written not only with great 
argumentative power, but with the urbanity and respect for his 
antagonist which became him as a scholar and a Christian. 
Previous to publishing it he submitted it to the perusal of Mr 
Hume, through their common friend, Dr Blair. Hume 
indicated some expressions which he thought might be 
softened, and some passages in which his meaning had been 
misunderstood. Dr Campbell at once accepted his criticisms, 
softened or expunged every offensive remark, and so altered 
his argument as to meet the interpretation of his writings given 



|cHAt\ XXVI. 

by the great sceptic himself. When the Dissertation appeared, 
Hume wrote to the Principal a letter, which is alike honour- 
able to both. He thanked him for the courtesy with which he 
had conducted the controversy ; complimented him on the 
great ingenuity and learning of his performance ; and de- 
clared that he never had so violent an inclination to break a 
rule of his early life — never to make a reply — as he thought 
he could find something specious, at least, to urge in his own 

Perhaps Mr Hume might have urged, had he ventured on a 
reply, that though we have a native tendency to believe testi- 
mony, experience ^regulates this tendency, by teaching us that 
testimony is frequently false. The child readily assents to 
testimony because it has no experience of imposture; the 
man frequently withholds his assent just because he has such 
experience ; and the object of his Essay was not to deny this 
tendency, but to find out a basis for a rational and intelligent 
belief. It is the belief of a wise man, and not of a child, he 
wishes to investigate. Belief founded upon a large experience 
is likely to be sound ; belief simply resulting from the tend- 
ency to believe has no warrant whatever. 

The real fallacy of Mr Hume's argument lies in the ambi- 
guity of the word " experience." If he means by experience 
his own individual experience, or the experience of any limited 
number of men, such an experience does not necessarily con- 
tradict testimony, for the experience of others — the experience 
of those who gave the testimony — may have been different 
from that of those comprehended in the limited number. If 
he means by experience, universal experience — the experience 
of all mankind without exception — then he assumes the thing 
to be proved. Miracles are alleged to have been within the 
experience of many. 

Did Hume confine the range of his argument within the 
same compass as Tillotson confines his refutation of Transub- 
stantiation, quoted in the beginning of his Essay, then it had 
been unanswerable. No evidence, says Tillotson, can be 
stronger than that of our senses; the evidence of the Christian 
religion is not stronger, for the apostles merely relate what 
they were eye-witnesses of; and therefore no argument, and 
no evidence, can lead us to believe in a doctrine which is con- 
trary to sense. But Hume could not oppose the evidence of 
his senses to the testimony of the apostles; he could not 
neutralize their experience by his own experience ; and so his 
argument fails. 


The argument fails, however, only because it is pushed too 
far. Had it been used to prove, not that miracles are utterly 
incredible, but that they are improbable, then it had been good. 
Our own experience, and the experience of the bulk of man- 
kind, are undoubtedly opposed to miracles ; miracles, there- 
fore, should be credited only when the testimony in their favour 
is so strong as to overbear an opposing experience, which is 
confessed to be all but universal. Mr Hume tells us that the 
argument first occurred to him when walking with a Jesuit in 
the College of La Fleche, and disputing with him the credi- 
bility of a miracle affirmed to have lately occurred in his con- 
vent ; and that the Jesuit evaded its force by saying, that it 
applied to the miracles of the New Testament equally as to 
those of the Catholic Church. 1 No doubt it does, but the 
issue depends on the weight of the testimony and the defini- 
tion of the miracle. 

The controversy about miracles was entirely Scottish. A 
Scotchman framed the argument ; a Scotchman furnished the 
answer. But now both Hume's Essay and Campbell's Answer 
are known over the world, and have exerted a considerable 
influence upon the fate of Christianity. 

The " Dissertation on Miracles " was not Campbell's only 
work. He further enriched the theological literature of his 
country by his "Translation of the Gospels, with Pre- 
liminary Dissertations," by his " Lectures on Ecclesiastical 
History," and by his " Lectures on Systematic Theology." 
His "Philosophy of Rhetoric" entitles him to a high place 
amongst those who have investigated the principles of 
language and eloquence. He is one of the few great thinkers 
whom the Church of Scotland has produced. Of diminutive 
stature and a very delicate frame, he writes with the vigour of 
an intellectual giant ; and it is sometimes difficult to deter- 
mine whether his critical learning or his robust sense deserve 
the palm. 

While Dr Campbell was reaping his laurels, another Aber- 
donian was buckling on his armour to do battle with Hume 
on the field of metaphysics. This was Dr Thomas Reid. Born 
in 1 7 10, and educated for the ministry, he was presented to 
the parish of New Machar in 1737 ; but so violent was the 
antipathy to patronage, that the people opposed his settlement, 
and treated him with rudeness. Through time, however, he 
completely overcame these prejudices, so that when he was 

1 Letter, Mr Hume to Principal Campbell. Ritchie's Life of Hume, 
pp. 149-52. 


chosen in 1752 to be Professor of Philosophy in King's Col- 
lege, Aberdeen, the people followed him with their blessings 
and their tears. " We fought against Mr Reid when he came," 
said an old man, " and would have fought for him when he 
went away/' 

While at New Machar, Reid had applied himself closely to 
metaphysical studies, and, when introduced to collegiate life, 
he was able to perfect that which he had begun. A man was 
required to rescue philosophy from universal scepticism. 
Locke had reduced all our knowledge to sense. Bishop 
Berkeley, following in his footsteps, had argued that, since all 
our sensations are within the mind, we can have no evidence 
of an outer world. David Hume advanced still further in the 
same career, and maintained that, as we are conscious only of 
ideas and impressions, we have no knowledge of either mind 
or matter. Thus both the spiritual and material worlds were 
swept away, and ideas and impressions alone were left to fill 
up the universe. Common sense revolted against this, but 
still a faultless logic seemed to prove it. It would be wrong, 
however, to associate this philosophical scepticism with reli- 
gious unbelief. The name of Berkeley alone is enough to 
remove the suspicion, for no holier man ever ministered at an 
altar than the good bishop of Cloyne, who could descend from 
the heights of his idealism to write a " Treatise on the Virtues 
of Tar Water," which he fancied might be employed with 
advantage in curing the diseases of the poor. 

Reid had been long elaborating his " Inquiry into the 
Human Mind," in which he attacked the prevailing scepticism, 
and attempted to build up a system of philosophy on the 
principles of common sense : maintaining with great earnest- 
ness, though with some self contradiction, that we have the 
direct evidence of our senses for the existence of an external 
world. To guard against the danger of misapprehending the 
meaning of his adversary in a discussion so abstruse, he was 
anxious that his manuscript should be seen by Mr Hume 
before it was sent to the press, and the good offices of Dr 
Blair were again secured. The first response of the sceptic 
was somewhat surly, but it was evidently more in joke than in 
earnest. " I wish," said he to Dr Blair, " that the parsons 
would confine themselves to their old occupation of worrying 
one another, and leave philosophers to argue with temper, 
moderation, and good manners." When he had read the 
manuscript, however, he wrote directly to the author, compli- 


tnenting him both upon the spirited style in which the 
" Inquiry " was written, and upon the deep philosophical truths 
it contained. 

In 1764 the "Inquiry" was published, and soon attracted 
the notice of men devoted to such studies. In the same year 
Reid was invited by the University of Glasgow to fill the chair 
of Moral Philosophy, then vacant by the resignation of Adam 
Smith, the author of the "Wealth of Nations." His system 
found followers : Dugald Stewart was his disciple ; Sir William 
Hamilton owned him as his chief; but though they formed a 
metaphysical school which is famous in all the w r orld, they 
failed to solve the problem of idealism, because they did not 
recognise that the mind cannot be conscious of its own ideas 
— that that is a contradiction in terms — and that in all con- 
sciousness it must be conscious of something else, viz., of 
something external to itself. It is thus only that realism can 
take the place of idealism, and that we can reach from the 
inner to the outer world. 

Six years after the publication of the "Inquiry into the 
Human Mind," Dr Beattie published his " Essay on the 
Nature and Immutability of Truth." Beattie was another 
of those illustrious Aberdonians who were now occupying so 
prominent a place in the philosophical and religious world. 
Educated for the Church, he sunk, through poverty, into a 
schoolmaster ; but from a schoolmaster he rose, through dint 
of ability, to be Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in 
Marischal College. His "Essay" was prepared with pro- 
digious care, and almost immediately obtained a prodigious 
popularity. It was designed to be a refutation of Hume's 
scepticism; and though it contained nothing which was not 
to be found in Reid's " Inquiry/' it was read by hundreds to 
whom Reid's "Inquiry" was totally unknown. It was an 
attempt to make metaphysics homely and plain. It brought 
philosophy down from her tripod, and placed her on a com- 
mon stool. It must be confessed that Dr Beattie has written 
more like a polemic than a philosopher, and frequently makes 
up for want of profundity by virulent abuse \ but this made 
his book all the more popular with English bishops and 
English rectors, who hated Hume, but could not argue with 
him. Beattie visited London, and found himself a lion. He 
was introduced to George 111., and had a private interview 
with his Majesty. " I never stole a book but one," said the 
king to the philosopher, " and that was yours : I stole it from 
the queen to give it to Lord Hertford to read." 


Dr Beattie's celebrity as a champion of the truth obtained 
him something more substantial than dinners with duchesses 
and compliments from royalty. He got a pension of ^200 
a year through his friend Dr Porteus, then Bishop of Chester, 
and afterwards Bishop of London. He was offered prefer- 
ment in the Church of England if he would only accept of it ; 
but he had the good-sense and self-abnegation to decline it. 1 
Time has not sanctioned the high place at first awarded to 
the " Essay on Truth." It is written with neatness ; but 
instead of strengthening the arguments of Campbell and Reid, 
it fritters them down. It is still read by some who, without 
having a genius for abstruse speculation, have some curiosity 
to see an infidel demolished ; but it can never be regarded as 
a text-book either in philosophy or theology. It however 
served its turn. Beattie's poetry is better than his divinity. 
His " Minstrel " contains many passages of great beauty. His 
critical and philological essays entitle him to distinction 
among the writers of polite literature. Though never original, 
and never deep, he is always pleasing and always perspicuous. 

Never had the Church of Scotland possessed so many 
illustrious men as she did at this period. It was the Augustan 
age in her history. Besides the men whom Aberdeen could 
proudly claim — Reid, Campbell, Beattie, Gerard, — Edinburgh 
could point out on her streets men equally great, — Robertson, 
Blair, M 'Queen, Erskine ; and contemporary with these were 
Adam Ferguson, the historian of the " Roman Republic," and 
Robert Henry, author of the " History of Great Britain." Of 
all these, Robertson was undoubtedly the greatest. In 1758 
he had been translated from Gladsmuir to Edinburgh ; and a 
year afterwards he published his " History of Scotland,'' which 
at once placed him at the head of living historians. Hume, 
Walpole, Garrick, the Bishop of Norwich, the Earl of Mans- 
field, all hastened to say how greatly they had been charmed 
by his finely balanced sentences, and by a narrative which 
never allows the interest to flag. In 1762 he was made 
Principal of the University of Edinburgh ; and he was not 
only recognised as the leader of the Moderate party in the 
Church, but he was honoured by all as one who had thrown 
a new splendour around the literature of his country. 

The contests in the Church Courts regarding patronage 
still continued. The Moderate party had steadily gained in 
numbers and strength ; the Popular party, though often 
1 Sir William Forbcs's Life and Writings of Dr Beattie. 

A.D. 1764.] LEADERS OF PARTIES. 367 

beaten, were not subdued. So often as they were thrown to 
the ground, they got up again with renovated vigour. Either 
party could boast of eminent debaters \ and both Henry 
Mackenzie and Dugald Stewart, no mean authorities, declare 
that the oratory of the General Assembly at that period was 
not inferior to that of the British Senate. 1 The Popular 
party was led by Dr Dick, Dr M'Queen, Dr Erskine, Mr 
Freebairn of Dumbarton, and Mr Stevenson of St Madoes. 
Dr Dick, though mobbed and maltreated by the populace of 
Lanark, on account of disputes between the burgh and the 
family of Lee as to the right of patronage, stood firm by the 
Popular cause. His eloquence was chaste, argumentative, 
commanding, carrying conviction, and compelling respect. 
His ablest clerical coadjutor was Mr Freebairn, whose 
eloquence was of a different kind — full of humour and 
pleasantry ; sometimes stinging by sarcasm, sometimes break- 
ing out into invective, always giving freshness and vigour to 
the debate. They had an able auxiliary from the laity in 
Mr Crosbie, the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, 
whose fiery and fervid declamation was peculiarly fitted to 
make a powerful impression upon such a body as the General 
Assembly. 2 

The Moderates were led by Dr Cumming, Dr Drysdale, 
Dr Jardine, and Dr Robertson. The three first brought to 
the help of their party very considerable powers of debate, 
together with business habits, untiring assiduity, and concilia- 
tory manners. But Dr Robertson was clearly the guiding 
spirit of the party. When his influence in the Assembly was 
fully established, he seldom rose to speak till toward the close 
of a debate, when, without attempting any of the higher flights 
of oratory, he had always such a command of general prin- 
ciples applicable to the case in hand, and besides was so 
persuasive and so temperate, that he seldom failed to carry a 
majority of the House along with him. 

Among the distinguished laymen who at this period sat in 
the General Assembly were Mr Wedderburn, afterwards Lord 
Chancellor Loughborough and first Earl of Rosslyn ; Sir 
Gilbert Elliot, who became Treasurer of the Navy ; Mr 
Dundas, afterwards the first Viscount Melville ; Sir William 
Pulteney, Sir John Dalrymple, and others almost equally 
eminent. Lords of Session and advocates were never want 

1 Mackenzie's Life of Home. Stewart's Life of Robertson. 

2 He is understood to be the Counsellor Pleydell of " Guy Mannering." 


ing. Now that the Estates were removed to London and 
merged in the British Parliament, it was the only field left for 
Scotch oratory and statesmanship. 

The politics of both parties were gradually undergoing 
a change. During the leadership of Dr Cumming, the 
Moderates joined with the Popular party in maintaining the 
necessity of a call to constitute the pastoral relationship ; 
only they held that a call from the heritors and elders was 
all that was required, while their opponents insisted upon a 
call subscribed by a majority of the heads of families in the 
parish. In practice, however, no unvarying rule had been 
followed. Calls not subscribed by a majority even of the 
heritors and elders had been frequently sustained. The 
names of men who were neither heritors nor elders had been 
often received when names were scarce. No instance, in fact, 
had occurred for many years of a presentation being set aside 
merely on account of the paucity of signatures attached to the 
call. Dr Robertson now declared that the call of the 
parishioners was not essential to the pastoral tie. He held 
that the Church Courts were bound to admit every qualified 
minister who held a valid presentation, whether he received a 
call from the people or not. The call was merely the expres- 
sion of the people's good-will toward him ; but it was recognised 
by no act of parliament, and therefore was not essential to his 
being ordained as their minister. 1 

There was another change, not less important, gradually 
introduced. Both parties had hitherto allowed the congrega- 
tion to urge objections against an unacceptable presentee 
before the presbytery, and objections of almost any kind were 
heard and considered, though generally set aside in the end. 
But Dr Robertson and his followers now insisted that no 
objections should be admitted but objections against the life 
or doctrine of the presentee. 2 This new policy was simple, 
consistent, and easily understood. Its promoters said that, 
as members of a State Church, they were bound to square 
their conduct with the law ; the Act 1 7 1 2 prescribed a certain 
course, and they were under a necessity to follow it ; their 
function being merely ministerial, it was their duty to carry 
out what the statute had ordained ; and that, if this was not 
done hitherto, it was all the more necessary that it should be 
done now. But notwithstanding this change of policy, the 

1 Principal Hill's Sketch of Robertson's Ecclesiastical Policy. 

2 Sir Henry Moncreiff's Life of Dr Erskine, Appe dix. 


old forms were scrupulously observed. In every case, an 
attempt at least was made to procure a call. The term, how- 
ever, was altered in several instances in the Record of Assem- 
bly, and in place of " call," " concurrence " was introduced. 1 
The new word was an exposition of the new policy : the call 
was henceforward to be regarded merely as the concurrence of 
the people with the presentation of the patron. If the con- 
currence was given, it was well \ if it was withheld, it was a 
pity, but still it did not weaken the presentation. 

The people, however, had not forgotten the ancient tradi- 
tions of the Church, and in many cases opposed with great 
violence and obstinacy the intrusion of unacceptable ministers 
upon them. When their grievances were carried up to the 
General Assembly, they found an eloquent utterance there, — 
but it was always in vain ; and when the presbytery after- 
wards met to carry out the sentence of the supreme court, it 
was not unfrequently hooted and stoned by the enraged popu- 
lace ; and in some instances the military required to be called 
in to preserve the peace. Thus in 1764 the Presbytery of 
Irvine met at Kilmarnock to induct a minister, but a riot was 
the result. Ten of the rioters were afterwards tried at the 
circuit court, and three of them sentenced to be imprisoned 
for a month, then to be whipped through the streets of Ayr, 
and afterwards to find caution for their good behaviour for a 
year. 2 

But while the Moderates were consolidating their strength, 
and enjoying their triumphs, dissent was spreading with alarm- 
ing rapidity. It was only thirty years since the Erskines had 
turned their backs upon the Established Church, and already 
a hundred and twenty meeting-houses had been erected. This 
increase of dissent was almost universally ascribed to the 
pressure of patronage. The sequence of the one from the 
other was too often seen. When a parish had in vain opposed 
a presentee before the presbytery, the synod, the General 
Assembly — when the man was ordained in spite of their remon- 
strances — instead of succumbing, they built a meeting-house, 
and threw themselves into the arms of the Secession or the 
Relief. They would rather make pecuniary sacrifices than 
yield; they would rather pay a minister out of their own 
pockets than submit to a minister supported by the tithes, who 
had been forced upon them by a high-handed patron. 

1 Sir Henry Moncreiff's Life of Dr Erskine, Appendix. 
- Morren's Annals, vol. ii. p. 290. 

VOL. II. 2 A 


This state of matters was cause of distress and alarm to 
many of the well-wishers of the Church. They resolved to 
bring the matter before the General Assembly, to see if no 
remedy could be found. The matter was first stirred in the 
Assembly of 1765. An overture was laid before the House, in 
which it was declared that the schism in the Church was 
growing ; that there were now in the country a hundred and 
twenty meeting-houses, to which a hundred thousand persons, 
formerly belonging to the Established Church, resorted ; and 
that dissent was taking the deepest root in the largest towns. 
The Assembly appointed a committee to consider the matter. 1 

Meantime the subject began to be discussed out of doors, 
and the Seceders were by no means pleased that they should 
be spoken of as schismatics. They declared that they were 
animated by no sectarian feelings; that they were loyal subjects 
and peaceful citizens ; and that if the Church wished to regain 
them, she must instantly begin a covenanted work of re- 
formation. 2 

When the Assembly met in 1766, the report of the Com- 
mittee on Schism was laid before it. It recommended that 
the Assembly should appoint an inquiry into the facts alleged 
touching the growth of schism; that it should consider whether 
no remedy could be found for the abuse of patronage, which 
was one great cause of the evil ; and that it should nominate 
a committee to correspond with presbyteries and gentlemen of 
property and influence upon the subject. The Popular party, 
who thought their hands were clean of the schism, mustered 
in strength to support this report. They had already obtained 
an advantage in the fact of such a report having been agreed 
upon by a committee of the last Assembly. It was thought 
by some that a reaction was begun, and that new vigour alone 
was necessary to victory. The Moderate party, however, were 
prepared for the contest. They would not willingly surrender 
the principles they had preached, and the power they had 
wielded for so many years. At ten in the morning the 
debate began, and it continued without intermission till nine 
at night. 

On the part of the Moderates it was argued that dissent was 
not an evil \ or, if an evil, it was a necessary evil. There 
always had been, and there always would be, divisions in the 
Church. Mens minds were different; their education and 

1 Scots Magazine, vol. xxvii. p. 27. 

2 See Gib's Letter in the Scots Magazine, vol. xxix. pp. 230-32. 

A.D. 1766.] OVERTURE ON SCHISM. 37 1 

habits were different; and in a free country it was impossible 
to avert religious animosities. And why charge patronage 
with the schism ? In so far as patronage had anything to do 
with the matter, the blame lay with those who' v .instilled into 
the minds of the people the pernicious and unfounded idea 
that they had a divine right to choose their own ministers, and 
thus stirred them up to oppose every licentiate who came to 
them with a presentation. Had not men of the greatest ability 
and the purest piety been resisted by the contentious spirit of 
people thus goaded on to violence and tumult ? Were not 
patrons in general much better able to choose suitable ministers 
for the parish churches than the illiterate peasantry who attended 
them ? If the election lay with the people, would not sound 
be preferred to sense, and men of an inferior class find an en- 
trance to the Church ? Would not contests arise about com- 
peting candidates more bitter than those which had occurred 
under patronage, and destroy the peace of parishes and the 
respectability of the clergy? But while some might doubt 
this, did any doubt that patronage was the law of the land ? 
It now formed an integral part of their ecclesiastical constitu- 
tion, and its repeal was altogether hopeless. All opposition 
to it was a flying in the face of the law; and the present move- 
ment would only encourage the people in their resistance, 
instead of teaching them that obedience which became them. 
The Church had the remedy in its own hands — it might be 
more careful in regard to the men whom it licensed. 

Principal Robertson, as might be expected, took a promi- 
nent part in the debate. He gave a sketch of the history of 
patronage in the Church of Scotland, to show its beneficial 
influence in elevating the character of the clergy. He alleged 
that the ministers at the Revolution, and for a considerable 
period after it, were men indeed of virtue and piety, but of 
mean abilities and little acquaintance with the world. He 
affirmed that the Act of Queen Anne was no sooner passed 
than young men of a higher class began to educate themselves 
for the ministry; that the character of the clergy had gradually 
improved; and that never had it been higher than it was at 
that present time. 

On the opposite side, it was maintained by the advocates of 

popular rights, that the schism was a great and growing evil, 

and, unless checked in time, would eventually ruin the Church. 

: But though they saw and lamented the increase of Secession, 

j they declared that, so far were they from wishing to persecute 


the Seceders, they wished to remove the reasons of their 
separation from the Establishment, and so open a door for 
their return. In regard to the cause of the schism, there 
could be no doubt. Patronage, if not the only cause, was the 
great cause. Had they not seen many examples of whole 
parishes abandoning the Establishment when a forced settle- 
ment took place ? Nor was this to be attributed to the men 
who advocated the rights of the people. They taught no such 
doctrines as were imputed to them; they made no such sediti- 
ous harangues as they were charged with. Instead of foment- 
ing discontent, they had often done all in their power to allay 
it, though they could not surrender the principles which they 
cherished. It was vain to defend patronage after the experi- 
ence which the Church had had of its working. Every day 
was revealing the unhappy consequences of it. Patrons were 
looking upon their rights simply as a species of property to be 
turned to the best account ; shameful practices were resorted 
to in order to obtain presentations ; simony was scarcely con- 
cealed ; and the good of the Church was never considered. 
If the people had been sometimes unreasonable, had not the 
patrons been unreasonable too? had they not often been 
worse ? What could be more melancholy than a parish upon 
which a minister had been thrust contrary to the wishes of the 
people ? How small was the prospect of either usefulness or 
comfort ? 

But it has been alleged, said the Popular orators, that the 
uniform enforcing of presentations will ultimately lead to peace 
and good order. When the people see that resistance is 
hopeless, they will quietly submit. The truth is, the people 
of Scotland will never submit. When they are driven to 
despair they will abandon the Church, to swell the ranks of 
dissent. The people of England, never accustomed to any- 
thing else, willingly receive every new incumbent whom the 
patron may send them ; but it never will be so with the people 
of Scotland. Their ideas are different, and too deeply rooted 
to be plucked up. You must make them indifferent about re- 
ligion before you will make them indifferent about their 
ministers. It is true, patronage is the law of the land ; but are 
we not entitled, as free subjects, to seek a change of the law? 
Are we not accustomed every year to instruct our Commission 
to take every opportunity of seeking a redress of the grievance ? 
But while we do this, we are inconsistent with ourselves. The 
law, hard in itself, has been made harder still by the decisions 

a.d. 1766J THE VOTE. 373 

of the Assembly. A construction is put upon it which it was 
never designed to bear ; all liberty of objecting on the part of 
the people is taken away ; and our parishes are handed over 
to the tender mercies of patrons who care nothing for the 
spiritual interests of the people. 1 

When the speakers had exhausted themselves, and the vote 
was taken, eighty-five were found to be in favour of the over- 
ture, and ninety-nine against it. The Moderate party had once 
more asserted its superiority. 2 But the energy with which the 
debate was maintained shows the alarm which had arisen from 
the spread of dissent; and the eighty-five champions who 
did battle for popular election proved that the cause was by no 
means a lost one. The contest, lost in the Assembly, was 
continued in the public prints ; and an agitation was begun to 
have the Act of 1732, touching the calling of ministers, 
revived; for the act of the Moderate party, which drove 
Ebenezer Erskine from the Church, would have abundantly 
satisfied the Popular party now. 

The section of the Church led by Principal Robertson was 
subjected to another imputation besides that of binding the 
yoke of patronage upon the neck of the people. They were 
accused of sheltering clerical delinquents. Unhappily, about 
this period, several cases of immorality were brought before the 
Church Courts ; and in some instances the offenders escaped 
either from some error of form in the process, or from an 
alleged defect in the evidence. There were other cases of men, 
formerly deposed, restored upon proof of their penitence and 
reformation. The opponents of the Principal declared, that 
by this course of conduct he was lowering the standard of 
morality in the Church, and bringing the sacred office of the 
ministry into disrepute. It was ill done, they said, for clergy- 
men to employ their subtlety and sophistry upon terms of law 
and rules of evidence unknown to ecclesiastical courts, in 
order to set aside sufficient proof in the eye of every sensible 
man. 3 

The friends of the Principal, on the other hand, maintained 
that the greatest service which he rendered to the Church was 

1 Scots Magazine. Morren's Annals, vol. ii. I have here given a con- 
densation of the speeches made in the Assembly on this occasion. See 
also My Own Life and Times, by Dr Somerville, vol. i. p. 80-89. 

- While the vote was being taken Dr Jardine sank back upon his bench 
and expired — a tragic incident, probably partly due to excitement. 
Somerville's Life and Times. 

3 Scots Magazine, vol. xxix. p. 125. 


his improvement of its judicial procedure. They remarked, 
that a court so popular in its constitution as the General 
Assembly was but ill calculated for the administration of jus- 
tice. Its members were too numerous to be free from passion 
and to feel responsibility, and too fluctuating to be well 
acquainted either with the form of process or the law of evi- 
dence. How was it to be expected that a court consisting of 
nearly four hundred members, many of whom sat in it for the 
first time, could patiently and dispassionately investigate evi- 
dence, so as to arrive at a proper conclusion? In such a 
multitude of undisciplined judges there was a constant 
tendency to set aside all forms together, and to give judgment 
from their own convictions, apart altogether from the evidence 
led. Principal Robertson vigorously opposed himself to such 
loose practices. He wished to see justice dispensed in the 
General Assembly with the same gravity and attention to rule 
as in the Court of Session. He insisted upon a scrupulous 
observance of every form, and would rather allow a delinquent 
to escape than have him convicted upon evidence which might 
satisfy some minds, but which did not amount to legal proof. 
The principles he unfolded gradually gained ground ; and the 
series of righteous decisions which, during a long course of 
years, he dictated, formed a directory for the future guidance 
of the Church. 1 

When the Seceders abandoned the Church, they carefully 
kept themselves aloof from it, as from a thing that would defile 
them if but touched. They regarded the Church of Scotland 
as the zealous Protestant regards the Church of Rome. But 
not so with the members of the Relief Presbytery. Their old 
ecclesiastical sympathies did not die when they retired from 
the Establishment. They never brought a railing accusation 
against their mother-Church. They did not regard themselves 
as organising a hostile community — as setting up altar against 
altar — but rather as opening a sanctuary to which those 
oppressed by patronage might flee. They wished to occupy 
the same position in regard to the Church of Scotland which 
the Wesleyans did for a time in regard to the Church of Eng- 
land. From the very first they cherished catholic ideas of 
Christian communion. They desired rather than avoided 
ministerial fellowship with their brethren in the Church. The 
position which they thus occupied, and the ideas they 

1 Hill's Sketch of Robertson's ecclesiastical policy in Stewart's Life of 

A.D. 1766. J STMSON AND BAIN. 375 

cherished, led several probationers and ministers in the 
Established Church to join them, believing that by joining the 
Relief they scarcely deserted the Establishment. 

This was seen in the case of Simson. An unacceptable 
minister had been settled at Bothwell \ and the people, unable 
to reconcile themselves to his ministry, gave a call to Simson, 
a licentiate of the Presbytery of Paisley. Simson accepted the 
call ; asked from his presbytery an extract of his licence and a 
certificate of his character, as if he had done no wrong ; 
received ordination from Gillespie and the Presbytery of 
Relief: and entered upon the discharge of his pastoral duties. 
Some of the ministers of the Church at once recognised him as 
a brother, properly invested with the ministerial character. In 
the High Church of Paisley he administered the sacrament of 
Baptism \ in the College Church of Glasgow he dispensed the 
sacrament of the Supper. There were some, however, inclined 
to censure such divisive courses ; and in January 1764 Simson 
was brought before the Presbytery of Paisley. He readily 
acknowledged the facts charged against him, but pleaded that 
the Presbytery of Relief did not teach the principles of separa- 
tion ; that he was only affording a temporary relief to a part of 
the parish of Bothwell who were anxious to continue in con- 
nection with the Establishment ; and that he conceived he was 
doing the Church good service rather than injury. For him- 
self, he added, he greatly desired to continue within the 
Establishment, and that he did not think he had done any- 
thing to prevent it. The presbytery gave no decision ; but the 
Commission of Assembly declared Simson no longer a licen- 
tiate of the Church. 1 

The case of Mr Bain, minister of the High Church of 
Paisley, made a still greater noise, and exhibited more fully 
the position which the Relief wished to maintain toward the 
Establishment. Mr Bain resigned his charge in_ Paisley, and 
accepted the pastoral charge of a Relief congregation in 
Edinburgh. In his letter to the presbytery, containing his 
resignation, he declared "that this change in his position 
made no change in his Christian belief; none in his principles 
of Christian and Ministerial communion ; nay, none in his 
cordial regard to the constitution and interest of the Church 
of Scotland, which he had solemnly engaged to support more 
than thirty years ago, and hoped to do so while he lived." 

The presbytery were at a loss what to do with this letter \ 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 292, 293. 


and the case went up to the Assembly which met in May 
1766. Bain thought he had done nothing worthy of punish- 
ment, and that the affair might rest with his resignation of his 
charge in Paisley. But the Assembly thought differently. 
They declared him no longer a minister of the Established 
Church, and prohibited their ministers from holding any 
ministerial communion with him. Of this sentence Mr Bain 
bitterly complained. He saw no inconsistency in his having 
the oversight of a Relief congregation, and continuing a 
minister of the Established Church. But it was of the latter 
part of the sentence that he complained the most, as it cut 
him off from ministerial communion with his former brethren. 
" The Relief Presbytery," said he, " does not poison the people 
with principles of bigotry and separation, but rather keeps 
them from that snare, and preserves them in as full com- 
munion with the worthy ministers of the Church of Scotland 
as ever. Is it candid, then, or political, first to cast such 
men out of her communion, which they and their people 
earnestly desire, and yet to cast on them the most injurious 
calumny of sectaries and schismatics? Whatever may be 
said of others, slander itself will almost blush to say, that the 
Presbytery of Relief have any separating principles. They 
dare not decline communion with any who have the know- 
ledge, the visible, uncprrupted profession, of real Christianity : 
the laws of Jesus Christ ordain to receive such; by what 
authority, then, are they intercommuned ? " 1 

From all this it is evident that, had the Church wished it, 
the Presbytery of Relief might have been preserved as a firm 
ally. Her churches would have been little else than chapels 
of ease in connection with the Establishment — cities of refuge 
to which the people might flee when oppressed by patronage, 
and from which they might return to the bosom of their 
mother when the day of oppression was past. Popular 
ministers reared in the Establishment would have been invited 
to fill the Relief pulpits, and fellowship in word and sacra- 
ments preserved. But such a state of things was very far from 
the notions of the men who at that time ruled the General 
Assembly. They aimed at making the Church a society com- 
plete in itself, bound by its own rules, and fenced about by 
its own constitution. They had no idea of shaking hands 
with Dissenters, or tolerating within their pale men who 
ventured to disregard their decisions. The Church must not 
1 Morren's Annals, vol. ii. pp. 314-29. 


be many societies, but one society. The Church of Rome, in 
its vastness, had comprehended many orders of religions, each 
of which had done its own work, and helped on the greatness 
of the whole ; but the Church of Scotland must be one and 
undivided. It was a fatal blunder. 

The Presbytery of Relief were inclined to continue in 
communion with the Established Church, not only because 
they felt no hostility toward it, but because they held, from 
the very first, large ideas of Christian communion. The 
Churches of the Reformation had at one time been truly 
catholic in their spirit, and knew no limit to their love but 
Popery; but they had gradually shrunk within themselves, 
and drawn in the generous help and sympathy which they 
had once extended to each other. Churches had become 
national ; and even national Churches had not unfrequently 
been divided against themselves. Each kept carefully aloof 
from the others. The Church of Scotland had become as 
narrow and exclusive as the rest. The Presbytery of Relief 
revived a truth that was ready to die, when they taught that, 
notwithstanding the multiplicity of sects, there was but one 
God and Father of all. The communion-table, said they, is 
spread not for the Burgher or the Antiburgher, not for the 
Independent or the Episcopalian, not for the Churchman or 
the Dissenter, but simply for the Christian. By this doctrine 
the Relief Church steadily held so long as it had a being. 
The same doctrine has been held by many of the English 
Independents. It found an eloquent advocate in Robert 
Hall, who laid down the broad principle, that it could be no 
sin to hold communion upon earth with any whom we might 
dare hope to meet with in heaven. 

But we must now revert to some violent settlements which 
occurred at this time. In the month of April 1767, the 
Presbytery of Glasgow was to meet at Eaglesham to ordain a 
Mr Clark who had been presented by the Earl of Eglinton, 
and who was known to be peculiarly obnoxious to the people. 
When Principal Leechman and some friends reached the 
village, they found a crowd assembled, armed with sticks and 
stones. When they attempted to get access to the church, 
the mob began to hoot and hiss, pelted them with stones, 
bespattered them with dirt, took possession of every avenue, 
and declared they would defend their posts to the last. The 
unwelcome visitors were compelled to take refuge in a house, 
thankful that they had escaped with their lives. But here a 


new difficulty presented itself. Though there were several 
clergymen present from other presbyteries, only one clergy- 
man beside Dr Leechman, belonging to the Presbytery of 
Glasgow, was there. Terror had prevented them. The 
court could not be constituted ; the ordination could not 
take place. It was therefore deemed expedient to sound a 
retreat ; but while they were getting into their carriages, the 
rabble again surrounded them, with terrible yells. The horses 
were soon in motion, and the flight began \ but the mob fol- 
lowed in full cry, and did not desist from the pursuit till the 
defeated intrusionists were beyond the bounds of the parish. 
The men of Eaglesham, however, had only a temporary 
triumph. In June following, Mr Clark was ordained their 
minister. 1 

In 1762 the Duke, of Hamilton presented a Mr Wells to 
the parish of Shotts ; but so fiercely did the people oppose 
him, and so unwilling were the presbytery to proceed with 
his settlement, that it was 1768 before the litigation was 
brought to a close. In May of that year the presbytery met 
at Shotts, by the express orders of the General Assembly, to 
ordain the presentee; but they were obstructed by a mob 
who prevented them from entering the church or the church- 
yard, and obliged them to leave the parish with their duty 
undischarged. The sheriff of the county afterwards inti- 
mated to them that he had made arrangements to have a 
body of infantry and dragoons under his orders, to protect 
them in the execution of their duty when they next met at 
Shotts ; but the divines, unwilling to proceed to so solemn 
an act surrounded by Herod and his men of war, preferred 
ordaining Mr Wells at Hamilton. 2 

Mr Thomson, minister of Gargunnock, received a pre- 
sentation to St Ninians, and accepted it. The people dis- 
liked him, the presbytery sympathized with them, and seven 
years were wasted in a fruitless effort to shake him off. At 
length, on the 29th of July 1773, the presbytery met at St 
Ninian's, by the peremptory command of the Assembly, to 
induct him. Several members were absent, though the 
Assembly had enjoined all, under the pain of its censures, to 
attend. Mr Findlay, minister of Dollar, presided ; and it was 
observed that in his prayer he asked no blessing upon the 
purpose for which they were met. After prayer he at once 

1 Appendix to the Parliamentary Report on Patronage, pp. 137-42. 

2 Ibid. p. 154. 


proceeded to address the presentee, who rose up, according 
to custom. " We are here met this day," said he, " in obedi- 
ence to the sentence of the General Assembly, to admit you 
minister of St Ninian's. There has been a formidable opposi- 
tion made against you by six hundred heads of families, 
sixty heritors, and all the elders except one. This opposition 
has continued for seven years ; and if you shall this day be 
admitted, you can have no pastoral relation to the souls of 
this parish ; you will never be regarded as the shepherd to go 
before the sheep ; they know you not, and will not follow you. 
Your admission can only be regarded as a sinecure, and your- 
self as a stipend-lifter. Instead of doing good you will bring 
ruin and desolation on the parish, and be able to adopt the 
answer of Marius to the Roman praetor — ' Go, tell him that 
thou hast seen the exiled Marius sitting on the ruins of Car- 
thage/ Now, sir, I conjure you, by the mercy of God, give 
up this presentation ; I conjure you, by the great number of 
souls of St Ninian's, who are like sheep going astray without 
a shepherd to lead them, and who will never hear you, never 
submit to you, give it up ; and I conjure you, by that peace 
which you would wish to have in a dying hour, and that awful 
and impartial account which in a little time you must give to 
God of your own soul, and of the souls of this parish, before 
the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ, give it up ! " "I forgive 
you for what you have now said," was the reply of Thomson ; 
" may God forgive you. Proceed to execute the orders of 
your superiors." 1 

A scene so painful as this gives us a vivid picture of patron- 
age in collision with popular opinion. No ordinary circum- 
stances could justify the course which the moderator of the 
presbytery pursued, the language which he spoke, the conjura- 
tions he employed. In no ordinary circumstances could he 
have ventured to do as he did. As it was, Find lay was after- 
wards summoned before the General Assembly to give an 
account of his conduct ; but the Assembly's censure only